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PATRIARCH TO THE INDIANS (1593 -1682)

 

Thomas Mayhew

 

 

The Life of the Worshipful Governor and Chief Magistrate of the Island of Martha's Vineyard; Proprietary of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and the Eliza­beth Islands, and Lord of the Manor of Tisbury in North America

 

By

 

 

LLOYD C. M. HARE

 

 

ILLUSTRATED

AMS PRESS NEW YORK

 

 

PREFACE

 

THIS life of Thomas Mayhew brings into focus the little known and scarcely ever recounted story of the aristocratic social and political tendencies of the English colonists who settled America's first frontier. The early fathers of our country lived in a transitional stage between Old World feudalism and New World democracy, and this fact is exemplified in the history of the colony of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and the Elizabeth Islands.

The peculiar institution of the town proprietary, its similarity to the English manor, and its conflicting interests with the town as a political unit, the author has endeavored to clarify against the social and the legal backgrounds of the seventeenth century. Attempt has been made to revisualize the oft pictured story of the Nantucket Insur­rection, heretofore described as a purely local event rather than a localized phase of a general clash of interests, largely economic.

Historians of New England have given emphasis to political strug­gles between the colonists and the mother country and devoted little attention to the relations of the settlers with the Indians. The belief is widespread that the only successful efforts made to civilize the Indians of North America were made by the French in Canada and the Spanish in California. This is not true, and the author hopes that this book will somewhat rectify the tradition of English disregard of Indian welfare.

For source material the author has drawn largely from the Rec­ords of Plymouth Colony in New England, the Records of the Gov­ernor and Company of Massachusetts Bay, and the Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society. The Minutes of the Executive Council of New York, Hough's Papers Relating to the island of Nan­tucket, New York Colonial Manuscripts, the several histories of Nan­tucket Island, the "History of Martha's Vineyard" by Charles Edward Banks, M. D., and diaries, narrations and histories by colonial writers, have been among sources consulted. The author is indebted to the "History of Martha's Vineyard" for most of his facts concerning Governor Mayhew's English ancestry, and much information con­cerning the social and political history of Martha's Vineyard Island.

The author takes this means to express appreciation to Walter F. and George F. Starbuck, sons of Alexander Starbuck, for the use of illustrations used in their father's exhaustive history of Nantucket; also to L. & J. G. Stickley, Inc., of Fayetteville, New York, repro­ducers of early American furniture, for the illustration of the Mayhew Family Tree; and Mr. Marshall Shepard, president of the Dukes County Historical Society (of Massachusetts) for numerous plates originally appearing in Bank's "History of Martha's Vineyard."

LLOYD C. M. HARE.

 

Berkeley, California.

 

 

 

 

Thomas Mayhew, Patriarch to the Indians

THOMAS MAYHEW. . . . deserves to be ranked with Bradford, Winthrop, and the other worthies, who estab­lished or governed the first English colonies in North America. The little band of adventurers, whom he boldly      placed on an island, amidst numerous bodies of savages,

have not become a large and nourishing people; his fame consequently is less; but his toils, his zeal, his courage were equally great. In pru­dence and benevolence he stands preeminent. Whilst on his 'part he abstained from all acts of violence and fraud against the Indians, he gained such an ascendancy over their minds, that they on their part never did him or his people the least injury, or joined in any of the wars, which their countrymen on the main land waged against the English. He seemed to come among them, not like a robber to dis.possess them of their lands, not like a conqueror to reduce them to slavery, but like a father, to impart to them the comforts of civilized life, and the blessings of the gospel of peace.-James Freeman, in "Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1815."

CHAPTER I

THE PRELUDE OF EMPIRE

In 1588 the Spanish Armada was destroyed by the grace of God and the sea dogs of England. On the bleak coasts of Ireland and Scotland lay the bones of Philip's ships. Britannia had become mistress of the seas. .

The sun of empire had broken on Elizabethan England. It was the morning of the seaman, the middle class, and the merchant prince. Feudal barons no longer ruled supreme in councils of state with visions proscribed by the bounds of ancient manors. In this day commerce reached its peak, unconfined to the counting of pennies and the dickering of traders.

England sloughed provincialism; turned from broad acres to the swelling sea and took root beyond the ocean, ambitious to be something other than a mere island outpost of Europe.

Merchant adventurers and mariners went forth to vex distant seas in strange corners of the globe. Ships sailed the oceans laden with cannon and spices and furs.

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Great commercial companies were formed to trade in all the parts of the earth. Under the seals of state a stream of charters passed, grant­ing new domains in savage untrammeled wildernesses. Vast tracts of land, mighty unexplored territories reaching from the Atlantic to the fabled South Sea, passed to favorites of the royal hand. Pioneers of empire dreamt of power.

In home ports all was hustle. Wooden ships creaked at wharves piled high with merchandise from strange lands. The music of lap­ping waters, the clank of chains, grating blocks, and straining haw­sers lulled the air like gentle zephrys and belied the dangers of foreign enterprise in barbaric lands. Hulls that had sailed uncharted waters pounded gently against their mother piers. In the counting houses merchants and masters planned new voyages.

Royal captains, explorers, and grizzled sea dogs ventured out of the harbors of England in cockelshell boats to explore the shores of North America. The prelude to the empire was being brilliantly dramatized.

To the stern forbidding shores of America were transplanted names ancient in the United Kingdom. Where the Indian roved in snow and forest, maps pictured New Scotland, New Dartmouth, New Somerset­shire, the Colony of New Plymouth, and a host of home loved names, many of which took no root in the barren soil of the New World, but passed from all but the memory of man and the pages of history. Others flourished for a time or were merged in greater units.

    Governors to strange lands were appointed, admirals of new seas commissioned, trading posts were settled, forts erected, and the founda­tions of empire laid.

In this hurly-burly of colonization and commerce were established close to the middle of the seventeenth century the colonies of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, the private proprietary of an English mer­chant from the seaport town of old Southampton-the Worshipful Thomas Mayhew, Esquire, father of a colony, governor of an island, feudal lord in the nobility of the New World, judge, educator, patri­arch and missionary to the Indians of New England.

 

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PATRIARCH TO THE INDIANS (1593 -1682)

 

 

CHAPTER II

 

THE EARLY LIFE

 

On April 1, 1593, in the ancient church of St. John the Baptist, in the parish of Tisbury on the downs of south Wiltshire, England, Thomas, infant son of Matthew and Alice (Barter) Mayhew, was baptized.

The father of Thomas was a yeoman of gentle origin. Perhaps as his son was carried from the font of the parish church, he prayed that the infant who was destined to become one of a long line of British governors of dominions over-seas, would live to revive the fortunes of his branch of the Mayhew family, to bring again to his line the social rank from whence he sprang.

The Mayhew family of Tisbury was a cadet branch of the family of Mayhew, spelled Mayow, of Dinton, an armigerous county family of considerable distinction, with its pedigree registered by the heralds in the Visitations of 1565 and 1623. The name is of Norman origin and is most frequently met with in the south and west of England. It is often spelled Mahu and Mayo and not infrequently appears clipped down and reduced to May, There can be little doubt but that it is a softened form of Matthew. The name De Mahieu is found in the sixteenth century in the southern provinces of the Netherlands among the noble Walloon families of French-speaking Belgium.

Thomas Mayhew, of Tisbury, a younger son of Dinton, was father of Matthew and grandfather of the infant Thomas. He is the first of his family to have lived in Tisbury, the home of his mother's people, where he was taxed for goods as of the Tithing of Tisbury in 1540. This Thomas was the third son of Robert Mayow, Gentleman, "eldest sonne and heire of Dynton," who married Joan Bridmore, daughter of John, off Tisbury.

Thomas, of Tisbury, was a yeoman, a member of that free-born class of small landholders, in the social scale of the feudal system rank­ing below the gentry.

The line of demarcation between younger sons of the gentry and prosperous yeoman was not firmly fixed and was apt to fluctuate in accordance with the wealth of the parent stock and the size of their

 

 

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families, Thomas, as one of five sons and two daughters, and the third son of his stock, underwent this transition,

It has been suggested that he inherited his mother's estate at Tisbury while the eldest son and heir of the family retained possession of the Mayhew property at Dinton, These were the days when the eldest son was favored in inheritance to the exclusion of the younger. The drop of a step in the social scale in all probability accounts for the fact that descendants of Thomas are not recorded in the family pedigree prepared at the Visitations. The great art of the heralds of England was the elimination in tabular pedigrees of the names of younger sons and daughters and those not in the direct line of ascent from the head of the family at the time of the Visitation. These were also days when the Puritan movement was growing in strength. The branch to which Thomas Mayhew belonged, becoming Protestant, may have lost association and recognition by the parent stock. The Mayhews of Dinton are said to have been of the Roman Catholic faith.

Thomas was buried in 1590, in Tisbury, predeceased by his wife, Alice.  Robert, father of Thomas, although named in the Visitations as "eldest sonne," is the only son of his generation recorded. He was doubtless that Robert Mayhew who, with JohnTodeworth, in a "Chirograph" dated 7 Henry VI, granted two messuages, three shops,and ten acres of land in New and Old Sarum to Robert Asshton and Alice, his wife, for life, remainder to John, son of the said Robert and the heirs of his body.

Simon Mayhew, Gentleman, father of Robert, and grandfather of Thomas, of Tisbury, heads the family in the recorded pedigrees, and bore as arms, "Argent, on a chevron between three birds sable, five lozenges of the field." Matthew, son of Thomas, of Tisbury, and father of the infant Thomas, was born about [550. He was a resident of the parish of Tisbury, where he was buried 26 February, 1614. In his will he is described as a yeoman. For his rank he appears to have been a man of substance. In his will, after minor bequests to the parish church at Tisbury and "to the poore people" of the parish, he bequeaths two hun­dred and twenty-four pounds of "good and lawfull monie of England" to his several children, and in addition "all the rest" of his goods, including his landed holdings, to his eldest son John.

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Alice, the wife of Matthew, to whom he was married in '587, was a daughter of Edward and Edith Barter, of Haxton, in the parish of Fydleton, County Wilts, and a granddaughter of James and Margaret Barter, of Fovent, in the same shire.

A prominent member of the Mayhew family was Edward, born at Dinton in 1570. He became a noted monk of the Benedictine Order. According to the writer in the "Dictionary of National Biography" he was "descended from an ancient family who had suffered for their attachment to the catholic faith." It is probable that he was a son of Henry, of Dinton, and a cousin to the father of Governor Mayhew. Edward, with a brother or cousin, Henry, not named in the Visitations, was admitted a student of the English College at Douay, then tem­porarily located at Rheims. Later attending the English College at Tome he took orders and was sent to England, where he exercised his functions for twelve years as a secular priest. Desiring to revive the Benedictine Order in England he took the habit and at the end of his novitiate was professed by the famous Father Sigebert Buckley, sole survivor of the order in England, and aggregated to the Abbey of Westminster. Edward was one of the two monks to keep unbroken the link in England connecting the old order of St. Benedictine with the new.

When Governor Thomas Mayhew was born, Elizabeth was Queen, Shakespeare was still living, and the fame of Raleigh and Drake and worthy John Hawkins and of a thousand more that by their powers "made the Devonian shore mock the proud Taugus" resounded still in the Briton's ear. In the same year was passed the Conventicle Act that provided the imprisonment without bail of any non-conformist who should be present at a religious gathering not authorized by the establish church. During the ten years preceding the ascension of James I to the throne large numbers of Puritan worshippers were sent to jail by the terms of this act and many others went into voluntary exile.

The formative period of Thomas Mayhew's life, no doubt, was spent in the parish of his birth. In times of leisure we may picture that he tramped the hills and downs of the countryside and mirrored his reflections in the still waters of the Nadder, quietly Rowing, by whose banks ancient Tisbury slept with her past deep in Saxon history and the days of Ethelred.

The land where he lived was a land of pleasant villages and ancient churches, trees and parks and manor houses, dusty highways that lead

 

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up hill and over rolling downs, where one saw thousands upon thousand, of sheep cropping grass, the source of England's woolen trade. It was home. All about him in neighboring parishes, Chilmark, Font. hill, and Dinton, lived a race of Mayhew squires and country gentlemen.

At Dinton, home of his parent stock, was born the Earl of Claren­don, Lord High Chancellor of England, whose daughter was to marry James, Duke of York, destined to become James II of England. The church at Tisbury contains a Brass to the Earl's father, Lawrence Hyde, great-grandfather of two of England's Queens. In later years Clarendon was to procure a patent of the province of Now York from the King for his son-in-law, the Duke. In the history of that province it was destined the boy Mayhew should playa role.

But of this the youth foresaw nothing in the peaceful days that passed all too quickly. On Sundays he sat in the noble church that stood in the fields of the village and read inscriptions to the great Arundels, lords of the countryside, whose castle of Wardour stood not far distant. He did not know that some of England's history lay in the womb of that little countryside that seemed so peaceful and stable and far removed from the stirring world. He saw the Lady Arundel, a noblewoman of rank and influence, a sister to the Earl of Southampton: that Southampton who was patron of Shakespeare and who sent Cap­tain Gosnold to America to establish the first English colony in New England upon an island of which Mayhew was later to be lord, and from which a town was to grow called Gosnold.

Perhaps the boy saw, too, Lord Arundel's daughter, the future wife of Lord Baltimore, of Maryland. She was to be buried in the church at TIsbury, where he sat.  On week days he attended the English school and perhaps the grammar school of the parish. The extent of young Mayhew's education can be no more than guessed.

In the early sixteen hundreds there were three main types of schools in England-the Dame School, the English School for instruc­tion in the three R's, and the Grammar School, devoted chiefly to the study of Latin and Greek with occasionally a bit of Hebrew. The latter was preparatory to the universities. To the Grammar School at Stratford-on-Avon went William Shakespeare, who had "small Latin and less Greek." The education of the great majority of English boys ended at the English School. It shunted pupils able to read the

 

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catechism and the Bible, to write a fairly legible hand and to wrestle simple problems in addition and subtraction.

Judging from the letters of Thomas Mayhew and his conduct in life, we are justified in concluding that his education was greater than that of the average Englishman of his times. Education throughout the world was at a low ebb. Not to be illiterate was a matter of pride.

The peculiarities of orthography found in Mayhew's writings are those common to his day. U's are habitually used in place of v's and v’s in place of u's; e's are placed in words where not now used, as in doeing and yeares; and the tendency to double letters is found, of which, examples are sitt, donne, and five.

Another peculiarity common to the times was the shaping of the i so that the word if when reproduced in modern type appears yf. The elimination of letters to avoid the laborious use of a quill pen and poor ink was prevalent. The sign manual of this practice was the use of the apostrophe or the elevation of the last letter of a word above the line to denote the elimination of preceding letters.

Rules of capitalization were not hardened. Early writers gave free rein to the art of this expression, and astonishing were their results. We find educated writers and clergymen capitalizing inconsequential words whenever fancy strikes them and in the same sentence writing god and christianity in the lower case.

Past school age the picture of Thomas Mayhew may more clearly be limned. Major-General Daniel Gookin, the New England magistrate who knew him personally, says he was "a merchant, bred in Eng­land, as I take it, at Southampton." This is verified by an entry in the Book of Free Commoners of the corporation of Southampton:

 

Nono die flebr' 1620 (i. e., 1621)

Thomas Mayhew late servant and

apprntice unto Richard Masey

of the Towne and countie of

Southampton mrcer havinge well

and truely served his apprntiship

with his said mr whoe beinge

present testified to the same

And he the said Thomas Mayhewe

(desieringe to be admitted a

free commoner of the said Towne

 to use his trade of a mrcer in

this said Towne and his said mr

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

 

likewise desieringe the same)

was therefore this present daie

admitted and sworren a free

commoner accordingly.

 

The privilege of a Free Commoner at Southampton entitled the licensee to engage in any "arte, seyence or occupation withy" the towne."

By this record a number of years in the life of Thomas Mayhew may be pieced. At the age of twenty-one his father had died leaving him an estate of forty pound,. A turning point in life had come. A few miles distant lay the seaport of Southampton, one of the great mer­cantile centers of south England. No occupation offered so great an opportunity for adventure, travel, wealth as did the mercantile life. So the youth determined at this time, if he did not do so sooner, to seek his fortune in the field of trade, the occupation then popularly pursued by sons of the gentry and wealthy yeomen.

Behind him he left the quiet fields of Wiltshire and its country families, its traditions of agriculture and woolen cloths. Opening before him w.s. vista of commerce and trade, ships and wharves and foreign enterprise.

It is thought that Richard Macey, with whom Thomas Mayhew served his apprenticeship, was a kinsman. Macey was a native of the adjoining parish of Chilmark, where young Mayhew had relatives, and it is not unlikely that the two were known to each other, if in no other way connected.        .

At the time of his freedom, Mayhew was close to twenty-eight years of age. We may infer that he was soon established in business for himself, plying as a mercer, a trade in silks and woolens.

The mercers were the great merchants of England. In their ranks were the most powerful traders of the day. No simple trades­men they, we are told, but persons who dealt in a large way in a varied assortment of goods, such as linen cloths, buckrams, fustions, satins, fine woolen and other English cloths, cotton thread and wool, silk and other commodities.

In business at Southampton, Thomas Mayhew, Free Commoner and Merchant, followed the fortunes of the colonizing ventures of the great mercantile companies. The history of Southampton is replete with the exploits of merchant adventures concerned in the first settle.

 

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ment and maintenance of plantations in the West Indies and on the mainland of America.

The year prior to Mayhew's freedom the "Mayflower" met the "Speedwell" from Holland in Southampton waters and rode at anchor. From the quays of the town the merchant must have seen the beginnings of that great voyage which was to terminate with the arrival of the "Mayflower" at Cape Cod in the dead of winter. Already the Pilgrims were suffering the horrors of those first months and nearly one-half their number lay beneath the untamed sod of the Western World.

Mayhew's pursuits brought him close in contact with New World colonization. He is thought to be the Mr. Maio of whom the Massa­chusetts Bay Company ordered material for beds, bolsters, and ticks in 1628.

From the harbors of Southampton and the Isle of Wight sailed the great fleet of eleven vessels with 700 settlers under the leadership of John Winthrop and Sir Richard Saltonstall that established the colony of the Massachusetts Bay.

The abilities of Thomas Mayhew in time reached the ears of Mat­thew Cradock, potent London merchant, one time governor of the company of the Massachusetts Bay. This was accomplished "by the reports and advize of maney & more especially" of John Winthrop, with whom Mayhew appears to have been acquainted and with whose son he was later an intimate friend and business adventurer.

Cradock was one of the great merchants of the kingdom who traded in all the seas. He is said to have invested in the trade with Persia and the East Indies and to have sent ships to the Levantine, the Mediterranean, and the Baltic provinces. He was heavily interested financially in the Massachusetts Company, under whose auspices John Endicott was exercising the chief authority over a small colony at Salem. As early as the spring of 1629 Cradock was instrumental in sending over shipwrights, gardeners, coopers, cleavers, and a wheelwright to the new plantation, and there is evidence that in this year was established his great private estate at Medford on the banks of the Mystic.

The many interests of Cradock in New England required supervision and this he accomplished from time to time by the appointment of an agent or factor to have general oversight and charge of his ship­ping, fishing, trading, and plantation interests.

 

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One such factor was Philip Ratcliffe, who early clashed with Puritan leaders in the colony, and being censured by the local court, he returned to England minus his ears by judicial decree. Sometime thereafter Thomas Mayhew arrived in the "Bay." This event is fixed, by contemporaneous records in the year 63, and as Ratcliffe was summoned before the colonial authorities in the summer of that year it is thought that the purpose of Mayhew's coming to New England was to fill the place left vacant by Ratcliffe.

 

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CHAPTER III

THE MERCHANT

 

 

Immediately upon his arrival in the "Bay" Thomas Mayhew became identified prominently with the social and political life of the country. He was throughout the duration of his residence in Massa­chusetts one of the foremost merchants in the colony that was founded by members of the wealthy mercantile class of Old England, from which stratum of society it derived many of its leaders in the early days of settlement.

Johnson, in his "Wonder Working Providence," published in 1654, writes with serious profundity:

The richest Jems and gainful things most Merchants wisely venter: Deride not then New England men, this Corporation enter: Christ call for Trade shall never fade, come Cradock factors send: Let Mayhew go another move, spare not thy coyne to spend. Such Trades advance and never chance in all their Trading yet:  Though some deride they lose, abide, here's faine beyond mans wit.

      Thomas Mayhew's first known New England residence was at Medford on the environs of Boston. Medford at this time was the private plantation of Matthew Cradock and did not have the status of township standing. The plantation, with its green meadows and stately forests, lay on the north bank of the Mystic, situate upon a grant of thirty-five hundred acres. Here Cradock impaled a park where cattle were kept until it could be stocked with deer.

On an early map Medford is delineated as a cluster of six build­ings. That one of these buildings was to a degree pretentious may be inferred by the fact that it is mentioned in the record. as "Madford house." It was here that Cradock's chief agents lived and Thomas Mayhew in the course of time.

As Cradoek's factor Mayhew became the head of a large corps of employees, occupied in furthering Cradock's business interests in numerous and diverse activities.

In 1634, Mayhew erected a water mill in Watertown, referred to by a contemporary as an "excellant" mill. This Mayhew eventually purchased for himself, which "brought him great profit." In a letter addressed to the "worshipfull John Wynthropp," Mayhew requests the

 

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use of Winthrop's team "a day or two, to hellpe carry the timber for building the mill at Watertown." The mill, which was the first in Watertown, was built at the head of tide-water on the Charles River at Mill Creek, which was a canal partly or wholly artificial, leaving the river at the head of the falls, where a stone dam was built.

Mayhew also requested of Winthrop delivery of certain hemp for calking "the pynnase," from which it may be gathered that he was engaged in shipbuilding.

The construction of ships comes early into the history of the Mys­tic plantation. The town of Medford was at one time noted for ship­building. Cradock sent over skilled artisans to promote the industry and as early as 1632 they had a vessel of one hundred tons on the stocks. In the year following a ship of three hundred tons and another of sixty tons were built. It may not be doubted that smaller vessels, such as pinnaces, galleys, and snows were launched upon the Mystic tides that flowed by the banks of the Medford plantation.

The smaller of these vessels were engaged in the coastwise trade, the larger in a three-cornered trade with the ports of Catholic Europe, the mother country, and the plantation on the Mystic.

The market for fish was poor in the mother country due to the fact that English merchants sent out their own fishing fleets. As fish was the staple article of New England export, trade necessarily sprang up with the Catholic countries of south Europe. There the New England ships would take on cargoes of wines and oils for Britain. Arrived in England these would be exchanged for clothing, food, and supplies needed in New England.

The fishery was one of the first and most flourishing trades estab­lished in the New World. It was the corner-stone of New England pros­perity. Captain John Smith referred to its possibilities as a trade of more solid value to the country than the richest mine the King of Spain possessed in Spanish America. Cradock is said to have maintained fishing stations at Medford, Marblehead, and Ipswich. At Medford was a great weir which had come into the possession of Cradock and Governor Winthrop. Here "land fish" were taken, i. e., fish caught without the use of boats. The weir was at the outlet of Mystic Lake, where today High Street, Medford, crosses the Mystic River at what is known as the Weir Bridge.

Something of Thomas Mayhew's activities as merchant, miller, plantation steward, and shipbuilder is expressed in a letter to the

 

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younger John Winthrop. In this Mayhew tells of a voyage to the 1.1es of Shoals "to buy 80 hogsheads of prouission" and reports that "upon his arrival he "fownd noe such thinge as vnto me for trueth was reported: to procure 8 hogsheads of bread I was fayne to layout one hundred pownds in ruggs & coates vnnecessarily: and for pease I got hilt I hogshead & y" whereof I sowed certain bushnells. Had things beene free at the coming in of this vessel, I woulld haue had a greater share of what she brought, yett I confesse, as matters hath beene car­,'ied, I haue not ought against that wbich hath beene donne."

Continuing, he writes, "I haue made out th accompt betweene vs. Concerning the Bermuda Voyadge and accompting the potatoes at 2d. ,the corne at 9s. per bushell, the pork at 10 Ii. per hogshead, orrenges and lemons at 20S. per c, wee two shall gaine twenty od pownds."

Winthrop, an accomplished scholar, a member of the Royal Society, and a governor of Connecticut, was the friend most dear to Mayhew throughout life. Him he addressed as "Deseruedly Honoured Mr. John Wynthropp, and my loueing Friend" and "my approued Freind."

Meanwhile, Cradock, in London, had become dissatisfied with the results of Mayhew's factorage. Like the London merchants who had financed the "Mayflower" pilgrims, Cradock was imbued with the belief that his investments in the new hemisphere should produce great revenue. But North America was not India, nor did it contain the wealth of the Caribbeans. The sterile and forbidding shores of New England produced timber, and in adjoining waters fish were caught in abundance, but in the markets of the home country such commodi­ties did not bring the prices of an East Indian cargo.

Dissatisfied, Cradock became thoroughly convinced that the lack of "great returnes" was attributable to"vyle bad dealinge" on the part of Mayhew. In lengthy letters to the senior Winthrop, Cradock poured forth his grievances, real and imaginary, going So far as to intreat Win­throp to take steps to make Thomas Mayhew account for Cradock's property in New England, which the London merchant valued at 11,500 pounds, besides increase of "Cattell," improvement of grounds, "& proffitt by the labors of sernants," set all against charges and losses. Cradock "truely" hoped Mayhew would give him reasonable satisfac­tion, and in so doing, says Cradock, "I ame confydent it will doe him­seille a great deale of right."

Immediately Cradock sent over a new agent, one J olille, who reported in regard to Mayhew's accounts, "that what is not sett downe

 

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is spent." "Most extremely I ame abused," bewailed Cradock, "My seruants write they drinke nothing but water & I haue in an account lateley sent me Red Wyne, Sack & acqua vitae in one yeere aboue 300 gallons, besids many other intollerable abuses, 101£ for tobacco etc. My papers are misselayd, but if you call for the coppyes of the accounts sent me & examine vppon what ground it is made, you shall fynd I doubt all but forged stufle." Cradock complained that bills came almost daily to him of one kind or another. By these his mind was much disquieted, as he thanked God never anything did in the "Iyke" manner before.

Continues he, "When it shall appear howe he hath dealt with me, you & all men shall seey it I ame persuaded will hardely thinke it would be possible that a man pretending sincerity in his actions could deale so vilely as he hath & doeth deale by me."

                "Yeet," writes Cradock again, "what shall I say, Mr. Mayhew is approued by all."

                Not alone Winthrop, but Sir Henry Vane, the then governor of the colony, was favored with letters from the London merchant.

Mayhew's version of this controversy cannot be presented with much wealth of detail. His story is gleaned imperfectly from Cradock's letters, from the conduct of compeers, and collateral circum-stances. Cradock himself mentioned the good reputation which the factor held. Rather testily he had referred to Captain Pearce, the trusted confidant of the leaders of the Massachusetts Colony in Eng. land and America as one who was a Mayhew "weIl willer."

Men in New England who knew Mayhew personally rallied to his aid, including the "heavenly minded" Haynes, himself a merchant. Cradock "marvels," as he expressed it, that Mr. Haynes, a former governor of the colony and the son of a privy councillor in England, should "drawe" himself "into such a buseynes," but is "perswaded" that Mr. Haynes is laboring under a misapprehension as to Mayhew's dealings and will be enlightened when the factor's methods are "unmasked. "

The gist of Cradock's spleen was business losses. He had invested many thousands of pounds in the new plantation, yet his New England interests totaled in the debit column. Wounded in his pocketbook, his soul writhed in a torment of pain. Upon Mayhew he turned with all the frenzy of a mind "much disquieted." Mayhew's cardinal sin was a failure to live up to the expectations of his employer. There can be

 

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

 

little doubt but that Mayhew was honest. The entire course of his life is a demonstration of a rugged integrity.

It may be that Mayhew made business errors and failed to report with sufficient detail to the satisfaction of Cradock. More than this the evidence does not sustain.

It must not be forgotten that Cradock's source of information was Jolifle, a man anxious to secure Mayhew's position, as he did.

Steps taken by Winthrop to make Mayhew "answerable" are not known. The judicial records of the colony disclose that court action was not pursued. This was a day when no controversy was too small to solicit the solemn attention of the magistrates. It is probable that the local governor of the colony paid small heed to the cry of the English merchant. It is not known that Mayhew suffered anything from the controversy other than that his position as the New England representative of the London merchant was not renewed upon the expiration of contract. His social and political prestige suffered nothing in the eyes of his colleagues who better understood the difficulties of his tasks and the expenditures necessary to further new and extensive operations in a pioneer country.

The letters of Cradock contain one of the few attacks upon Mayhew's private character, remarkable in that he was a man long and strenuously before the public, whose varied Career as merchant, governor, manorial lord, and Indian missionary extended over a period of fifty-one years in America.

In later years Cradock had business dealings with Mayhew, an indication that he no longer believed in the charges he had been so hasty in bringing.  The termination of Mayhew's employment as factor necessitated his removal from Medford. He took up residence in the nearby village of Watertown, where already he had business interests. Here, a few miles outside the principal town of Boston, the merchant resided the following seven or eight years, continuing his identity in colony affairs and enlarging his business and landed interests.

He was one of the great landowners of the colony. He held a large farm in Watertown of two hundred and fifty acres and three tracts of "upland," totaling more than one hundred and twenty acres. In addition he possessed thirty acres of meadow at the "westpine meaddows" in the township.

The other large landowner. at Watertown were Sir Richard Sal-

 

 

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

 

 

tonstall, the Rev. George Phillips, Robert Feake, Gentleman, and John Loveran.

Mayhew also owned for a time the Oldham farm of five hundred acres located at the junction of the Charles River and Stony Brook in the present town of Waltham, and the so-called Bradstreet farm of an equal number of acres in Cambridge Village, now Newton.

At Watertown the former factor continued his commercial activi­ties and the operation of the mill which by this time had come into his ownership, as well as the fish weir which had been constructed by the town a number of years before. The fishery in the Charles River was one of considerable importance. Wood, the early chronicler, testifies that at this weir were taken "great store of Shads and Alewives. In two Tydes they have gotten one hundred thousand of those Fishes."

                Not far removed from the mill and weir was the proprietor's home lot of twelve acres with residence and orchard. To span the Charles River in this center of commercial activity, Mayhew constructed a bridge, the first and most important in Water­town. It was usually called the Mill Bridge or the Great Bridge. Although successful as a structure of use, it proved a failure to its builder as a means of financial remuneration.

As early as 1640 its sponsor applied to have granted him the right to charge tolls. The application was referred by the colonial legislature to the governor and two magistrates to settle for seven years. But after some dickering, the privilege was refused, and by some unknown process of logic it was determined that the bridge should "belong to the Country" and that Mayhew should have in return for his investment and enterprise a tract of three hundred acres of land, which was voted him without thanks. The transaction was closed to the satisfaction of all but Mayhew. The colony reaped the fruits of private enterprise and, as has been aptly stated, "Mayhew got a lot of land in the woods thirty miles west of Boston" for his pains, in what is now Southboro and Framingham, on the north bank of Hopkinton River.

It is not known exactly under what arrangements, if any, the builder undertook the construction of the bridge, but it is apparent that the paternalistic governmeut of the colony did not favor private enter­prise and monopolies.

The outcome of the bridge episode was of special grief to Thomas Mayhew for the reason that the years 1640 and 1641 were a time of financial depression.

 

16

 

Matters reached a state where the General Court of the colony took a hand and passed an act that no man should be compelled to satisfy any debt, legacy, fine, or other payment, in money, but that creditors should accept satisfaction in corn, cattle, or other commodities because of "a great stop in trade & commerce for want of money."

Late in 1640 came the news that the Scots had invaded England in rebellion against the efforts of Charles I to force Episcopacy upon their people.  The sending to New England of supplies fell off abruptly.

Through the colony spread the news that the calling of a parliament and the possibility of a thorough reformation was imminent in Eng­land. The convention of the Long Parliament and the uprising of the 1',"'itIlUS in civil war was soon to come. Many of the settlers in New England decided to return to England. Others, despairing of supplies from the home country under the circumstances, and doubtful of the opportunity to earn a living should they return, moved southward, where subsistence was more easily secured than in the sterile soil of Massachusetts.

To effect removal a great many estates were put upon the market at low prices that the emigrants might raise quick cash. "These things," writes Governor Winthrop, "together with the scarcity of money, caused, sudden and very great abatement of the prices of all our own commodities." The price of corn and livestock, two staple articles of exchange, dropped sharply, "whereby it came to pass that men could not pay their debts, for no, money nor beaver were to be had," and he who the year prior had been worth 1,000 pounds could not now, concludes Winthrop, raise 200 pounds.

The times were difficult for a man involved in as many enterprises "' Thomas Mayhew. Bills and debts became pressing. An orgy of mortgages ensued. Between 1639 and 1643 the mill at Watertown, the fish weir, the Bradstreet farm, the Watertown farm, and other miscellaneous tracts of land and properties were either mortgaged or sold.

Something of the merchant's efforts to raise money he recounts to Winthrop, a fellow victim, who suffered reverses at the time from which he never folly recovered. Mayhew was threatened with having woods distrained by the government for failure to pay a tax. At the same time the colony owed him more than seventy pounds, which he had been attempting to collect for a year and a half. Mayhew could not see equity in it.

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW,  PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

Writes he, "I may safely say that if I had had my money as was then fully intended, being then 100 Ii" it had donne me more good, in name & state, then now wilbe made whole with double the money." Continuing, he writes, "Mony is verry hard to gett vpon any termes. I know not the inan that ca ffurnish me with it . . . . when I was syck & in necessitie, I could not gett any of the Tresurer." In conclusion, he adds briefty, "I delight not to compleyne."

The letter was carried to the governor by the constable, whom, says Mayhew, "I thinke he comes vnto yaw for counsell" in the mat­ter. Developments are not known. Perhaps Winthrop joined in May­hew's view that there was no "equitie" in the matter and legal process was abandoned.

In the words of the merchant's friend, Daniel Gookin, the time had come when it pleaseJ God to frown upon Mayhew "in his outward estate."

In a new and undeveloped country still in the pioneer state, where life was mainly agricultural and piscatorial, and men found it neces­sary to till the soil and build with their hands to eke a livelihood, the trials of the entrepreneur and capitalist were many and fraught with peril even under the most favorable circumstances.

Winthrop, Senior, Cradock, Mayhew, Oldham, and others found New England a source of financial loss. The era of great mercantile wealth and the growth of rich and powerful families with fortunes grounded on foundations of exports and imports was not

to come for another quarter of a century.

 

 

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CHAPTER IV

 

THE LEGISLATOR

 

In the early days of the Massachusetts Colony politics were, as in England, a profession pursued by gentlemen. Citizens of the best brains and education were called upon to serve the country in its several branches as a matter of civic duty. An office of trust, whether great or small, was an office of honor. A wealthy merchant of Boston expressed the spirit of the day when he questioned in his diary his worthiness to exercise the office of corporal of militia.

The name of Thomas Mayhew appears on the records of the colony early as March 6, 1632, on which day he filed a report as chairman of a committee appointed to settle the boundaries of Charlestown and Cambridge. In July of the following year he was appointed by the General Court to act as administrator of the estate of Ralph Glover.

For reasons unknown the merchant failed to become a freeman for a number of years. Whether he was unwilling to throw off allegiance III the Church of England, or whether with that caution which was char­acteristic of him he was not yet ready to cast his fortunes with the new colony, cannot at this day be said.

In the spring of 1634, however, he applied and was admitted a Freeman of the company of the Massachusetts Bay, entitled thereby to actively participate in the government of the colony as an elector and III hold offices of public trust, In the list of candidates admitted at this time but six are accorded the title "Mr.," a prefix then conferred with care, and denoting the possessor to be a man of rank. Three of these men of quality were the celebrated clergymen, Thomas Hooker, John Cotton, and Samuel Stone. The others were William Brenton, a member of an ancient and wealthy English family; Captain William Pierce, the distinguished voyager and shipmaster, author of New England's first almanac; and Thomas Mayhew.

Says the historian of Watertown, "For the ensuing 13 years, it Appears by the Colonial Records, that few, if any, other persons so "often received important appointments from the General Court" than Thomas Mayhew.

The status of a Freeman is one of interest. It is commonly known that the Governor and Company of the Massachusetts Bay in New

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

England was chartered by royal patent as a trading company. In the establishment of the colony in America the administration of the trading company became the government of the colony. The board of directors of the company, known as Assistants, became the magistrates, and the stockholders or Freemen the electors.

Of two thousand inhabitants in the colony in 1630 not more than a dozen had political competence. Not until the year following was the first class of Freemen admitted after the transfer of the charter to the New World. Freedom soon became restricted to colonists who held fellowship with one of the churches in the jurisdiction.

A small percentage of the population had become voters. These met in the stockholders' meeting of the company, where the higher officers of the colony were elected. The Freemen growing unwieldly in number for mass meetings, it was determined that the several plantations should send Deputies instead. In time the stockholders' meeting became the supreme legislative body of the colony.

On the day of his admission to Freedom, Mayhew, as a welcome, was fined by the General Court for a breach of its order against "imployeing Indeans to shoote with peeces." Mayhew had employed Indian servants for hunting purposes, perhaps to provide provisions for Cradock's numerous employees under his care, or for animal fur. That the offense was not heinous is gathered by the further order of the General Court that the Court of Assistants who had illegally, as they deemed, given Mayhew permission to do the act complained of, should pay a part of the fine levied. This is an early example of the control of the Freemen of the colony assembled in General Court over the jurisdiction of the magistrates.

On the same day a committee of the court was appointed to bargain with Mr. Mayhew and Mr. Stevens, or either of them, for the building of a seafort at Boston for the defense of the colony: the court agreeing to perform whatever bargain the committee might strike "for manner & time of payment." Mayhew's connection with this enterprise is there after veiled in obscurity. It may be that a "manner & time of payemt" were not satisfactorily arrived at.

All in all, Thomas Mayhew, honored with the title "Master," fined as a miscreant for permitting Indians to shoot with "peeces," and consulted as an engineer, appears to have been busily occupied at his first attendance at the General Court as a Freeman.

A few weeks later he was intreated by the court to examine what

 

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

hurt the swine kept by the men of Charlestown had done among Indian "barnes" of corn on the north side of the Mystic, the inhabitants of Charlestown promising to give the Indians satisfaction in accordance with his findings in the matter. Already he was a man of influence with the Indians, a phase in life for which he was to become famous.

An example of the paternalistic character of the Massachusetts government and its control of private trade is found in an act of the General Court passed the succeeding year. This statute provided that no person should buy commodities of any ship coming within the jurisdiction of the colony without license first obtained from the governor, under penalty of confiscation of goods so purchased or their value. The act then proceeded to authorize Mayhew and certain other merchants in the colony, "or anyone of them," to board any ship that had lain twenty-four hours at anchor and discovered to be a friend, to take note of what commodities it had for sale.

The boarding merchant was then to report the results of his observations, to his fellow licensees, the majority of whom were at liberty to buy such commodities, as they should judge to be useful to the country. It was provided that goods purchased should be landed by the merchant and stored in some magazine near the place where the ship lay anchor, and that at any time within the space of twenty days after landing, and notice given the several towns, sales should be made from the stock to any inhabitant within the jurisdiction, of such commodities as might be needful. The act concluded with a maximum specified to the merchant, "& not above."

"An incident in the life of the colony at this time in which Mayhew played a part was that which has been made famous by Hawthorne: the cutting of the red cross of St. George from the King's colors by John Endicott for the reason that it savored of popery. This picturesque incident, more widely known than any other one event in early New England history, threw the colony into a furor.

The cross in the Bag had early troubled the tender conscience of the Puritan exile. Whether this flaunting symbol of "Anti Christ" should be carried in the Bags of the militia had early been referred to the ministers at Boston for decision, but the clergy being divided in opinion the question was deferred to another meeting. Meantime Roger Williams, who could split a theological hair or create a political schism better and with more eloquence than his worst persecutor ever hoped to do, continued to express his opinion that the cross should be

 

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

discarded. Endicott, inspired by the young cleric's logic, on the green at Salem, before the assembled train band, with his own sword, had purged the ensign of Old England of its stigma, and the embattled militia men had proudly marched away with the amputated remains unfurled to freedom's breezes. The scruples of the yeomen who had refused to follow the flag in its former sinful condition were satisfied.

But not so the government. The problem involved a magnitude too

great to be solved by a Caesarian operation. Such means savored of treason. For a time it was ordered that all ensigns should be laid

aside. The ministers rallied to the harassed administration and prom­ised to write to the most wise and godly of their faith in England for advice.

Complaint was made to the General Court that the King's colors

had been defaced. "Much matter was made of this," writes Winthrop,

"as fearing it would be taken as an act of rebellion, or of like high nature, in defacing the king's colors; though the truth were, it was done upon this opinion, that the red cross was given to the king of England by the pope, as an ensign of victory, and so a superstitious thing, and a reluque of antichrist."

Endicott was hailed before the Court of Assistants to answer for

his act, but the court was unable to agree to any conclusion in the premises. The entire question was deferred to the next meeting of the General Court, convened at Newton. The question came early to the attention of that body. A committee of thirteen Freemen, including Thomas Mayhew, was appointed to consider Endicott's act and "to reporte to the Court" how far they judge it "sensureable." After one or two hours' time, the committee returned to the floor of the court and rendered its report:

The commissionrs chosen to consider of the act of Mr Endicott con­-

cerneing the colrs att Salem did reporte to the Court that they appre­hend hee had offended therein manywayes, in rashness, vncharitablenes, indiscrecon, &, exceeding the lymitts of his calling, wherevpon the Court hath sensured him to be sadly admonished for his offence, weh accordingly hee was, & also disinabled for beareing an office in the comonwealth, for the space of a yeare nexte ensueing.

This report Winthrop amplifies in his journal saying the committee

found Endicott's offense to be rash and without discretion in that he took upon himself more authority than he had without advice of court; uncharitable because, although he considered the cross to be a sin he

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THOMAS MAYHEW,. PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

contented himself in reforming it only at Salem, taking no step to reform it elsewhere; and that he laid a "blemish" upon the rest of the magistrates in intimating that they would admit of idolatry. A heavier sentence was not levied, explains Winthrop, because the court was per­suaded the captain had done the act out of tenderness of conscience, and not of any evil intent.

In the end the military commissioners of the colony ruled that the cross of St. George as a device upon the national colors should be left out of the flags carried by the militia, and that the ensign flown at the King's fort in Boston Harbor should bear the sovereign's arms in substitution.

Endicott, in later years, in his capacity as a Commissioner of the United Colonies, was able to exercise considerable influence in connec­tion with the activities of the Indian mission at Martha's Vineyard, then under Mayhew's supervision. There is nothing to show that Endi­cott harbored any grudge against Mayhew as a consequence of service on this committee. In fact, considering the enormity of the offense of mutilating the nation's flag, the sentence of the court was innocuous. The entire proceeding was a play to the British gallery. The Britons were watching the Puritans of New England with suspicious eyes and charging them with sedition.

In September, 1636, Thomas Mayhew was elected for the first time a Deputy to the General Court. This dignified body of lawmakers and judges recruited its membership from the wealthy and landed proprie­tors of the colony, its members representing the higher level of society.

At the time of his election the new Deputy was about forty-three years of age.

For the ensuing eight years Thomas Mayhew was returned to the General Court at nearly every session, being a member of at least fif­teen courts during that period. Upon occasion he was fined for absences, it being voted once that "The fines of this weeke are agreed to bee given to' George Munnings who lost his eye in the countryes servise."

As a Deputy he was appointed to many important committees in company with the leaders of the colony. His name appears as a mem­ber of committees appointed to layout land grants ordered by the General Court, to judge and establish boundaries between the several towns, to levy tax rates, to audit the books of the colony's treasurer, to adjust accounts between individuals, and similar duties.

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

With the husband of the "heretic," Anne Hutchinson, he was ordered by the Court of Assistants to gather up the debts and estate of Captain John Oldham, recently murdered by the Indians at Block Island. The murder of Oldham, a prominent merchant, was a chief cause in bringing on the Pequot War, the first of the Indian wars of New England.

When the judicial system of the colony was revised, Thomas May­hew was one of three gentlemen appointed to hold court for Water­town to hear and determine all causes not exceeding twenty shillings in amount. Business had grown apace in the colony with the increase of population, and although lawyers were looked upon as fathers of strife and were practically nil in the colony as a profession, the calen­dars of the law courts, nevertheless, had become choked with petty actions, and merchants found themselves at great expense in pursuing debtors and in adjusting accounts among themselves.

An important committee on which the deputy and judge served was one appointed by the General Court from its membership to con­sider a letter received by it from the Indian sachems Canonicus and Pesecus, of the N Narragansetts. The members were ordered "to returne theire thoughts & conclusions" to the "howse" for action.

Canonicus was the ancient sachem of the restless Narragansetts of Rhode Island. Pesecus was his nephew, who ruled with him as a sort of sachem-coadjutor on account of the former's great age. Pesecus' brother, Miantonomo, had been slain by the chief Uncas, outcast leader of a band of malcontent Indians, and the Narragansetts were prepared to. embark upon the customary war of retaliation and extinction. The move was frowned upon by the Massachusetts government.

Samuel Gorton, a settler, who for his "damnable errors" had been banished from the Plymouth and Massachusetts colonies, is charged as the inciting influence behind the activities of the Narragansetts. Writ­ing over the marks of the chiefs Canonicus and Pesecus, Gorton had addressed a letter to the Massachusetts authorities, pleased at the opportunity to bait his former persecutors. In the letter surprise is expressed that the Massachusetts authorities should disapprove of the war, and. with ingenious reasoning the writer suggests, in light of the fact that the Narragansetts had recently submitted themselves to the protection of the English crown, that any difference between the Massa­chusetts government and the Narragansetts should be referred to the

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

 

 

King for settlement on the theory that the settlers and the Narragan­setts were fellow subjects of a common sovereign.

The submission of the N Narragansetts was made directly to that great and mighty prince, Charles, King af England, at the suggestion of some of Gorton's followers for the reason that both the Gorton faction and the Narragansetts feared to come under the sway of their neighbors to the north. The Massachusetts leaders were jockeyed into the position where they appeared in the light of attempting to control, with overbearing strength, the conduct of others of his Majesty's loyal subjects.

The committee of the General Court perceived the delicate hand of Gorton in the epistle, or thought they did, and two messengers were hastily dispatched to Canonicus to convey the court's answer, with instructions to query the Narragansett chiefs if they "did own" the let­ter, by whose advice they had done as they wrote, and why they coun­tenanced counsel from such evil men as Gorton and his followers. These diplomats were illy received by the Narragansett's chief, who compelled them to wait two hours before giving them audience in his wigwam. Entering at length, the envoys found Canonicus stretched upon a couch from which he failed to arise. He would give them but few grudging words. After four hours of this treatment, Pesacus removed the party to an "ordinary" wigwam, not suitable for the recep­tion of English ambassadors, where a conference was held through most of the night. That it was unsuccessful may be gathered from the fact that the Narragansetts, with the Mohawks and die Pocomoticks, betook themselves to the warpath against Uncas in a long drawn war in which Uncas received support from the English. This assistance he repaid in later years by siding with the colonists against King Philip. The merits of the war is a contested bit of history and the exact part played by Gorton's men cannot now be estimated with impartial accuracy.

During all the time that Thomas Mayhew was playing a role in the affairs of the colony, he was prominent in the smaller sphere of town affairs at Watertown. Immediately upon taking up residence in the town he was elected one of eleven selectmen empowered to "dis­pose of all the Civill Affaires of the Towne far one whole yeare." The members elected constituted the legislative body of the town, and exer­cised also judicial powers in the enforcement of local ordinances, sitting as a police court. The office of selectman Mayhew held a number of years, at times acting as chairman of the board.

 

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

He was one of two townsmen appointed by the town to make I rate for the discharge of town obligations covering in part charges for "fencing ye burying place," and for the support of "ye Poore."

In the midst of stirring events in England and depression in New England, came the great event in the life of Thomas Mayhew that was to change the entire tenure of his future-the opportunity to acquire the title and sovereignty of the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket and those adjacent, to become like William Penn and Lord Baltimore, on a smaller scale, the proprietary of a colony in America.

 

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CHAPTER V

 

 

THE LORD OF THE ISLES

 

 

In the September of 1641 appeared at Boston, as General Deputy to the Right Honorable the Earl of Stirling, one James Forrett, with authority from his principal to dispose of lands for the colonization of Long Island and parts adjacent.

William Alexander, Earl of Stirling, had for some time been endeavoring to colonize the vast domains granted him upon the divi­sion of the territories of the Council for New England. Stirling was an eminent Scotch poet of ancient family. A favorite of the King, he held the post of Secretary for the Kingdom of Scotland. He was the recipient of prodigious gifts of land. He received from the New Eng. land Company the lands of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Stirling planned the settlement of these territories by the sale of baronies to gentlemen of rank who would contract to place on the soil of their grants a certain number of inhabitants. For the furtherance of this enterprise the King created a new order, the hybrid Knights Baronets of Nova Scotia, each member of which was to be a little more than a knight and a little less than a baron. Every purchaser of a barony was entitled to the orange tawny ribbon of the new order upon payment of requisite fees.

Although the new titles were conferred upon a number of gentle­men, and the royal pocket reaped a harvest each time the royal sword dubbed a baronet, the scheme as a means of settlement failed. The bleak fields of New Scotland bloomed with naught else than knights and passed into the possession of the French, leaving the landless pro­prietors of Nova Scotia with the orange tawny ribbon of their order and a title derided by the older nobility.

Of Stirling, an early satirist made the comment that "It did not satisfie his ambition to have a laurel from the Muses, and be esteemed a King amongst Poets, but he must be King of some New-found-land; and like, another Alexander indeed, searching after new worlds, have the sovereignty of Nova Scotia. He was borne a Poet, and aimed to be a King; therefore he would have his royal title from King James, who was born a King, and aimed to be a Poet."

After the Seigniory of New Scotland might be said to have ceased

 

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

to exist, so far as Stirling was concerned, he, or his son, was granted another gift of land in the New World with which to experiment.

In the charter of this grant the new lordship was delineated as embracing within its boundaries all that part of the mainland of New England adjoining the late New Scotland on the south, from the river St. Croix along the sea coast to Pemaquid, and up that river to the Kennebec and the river of Canada, to be called the county of Canada, together with Long Island to the west of Cape Cod, thereafter to be titled the Isle of Stirling, "with all & singular, havens, harbours, creeks, and Islands, imbayed and all Islands and Iletts lyinge within ffive leagues distance of the Maine being opposite and abuttinge vpon the premises or any part thereof not formerly lawfully graunted to any by speciall name."

Another great adventurer in the New World contemporary with Alexander was Sir Ferdinando Gorges, a hero of the war in France; like Stirling, a kingly favorite and a prominent member of the Council for New England. It was Gorges who had been instrumental in pro­curing from that company a charter for the Pilgrim founders of Plym­outh Colony.

In 1622 Gorges and Mason were granted the territory between the Merrimac and Kennebec rivers, extending inland sixty miles. Upon a division of this grant in 1629 the northern part between the Piscataqua and Kennebec rivers fell to the lot of Gorges, and was named by him New Somersetshire, after his home county in England. Ten years later Gorges was able to procure the King's confirmation to this terri­tory. By the terms of the royal patent, vice-regal powers of government were conferred upon Gorges, who was to act as Lord Palatine of the Province of Maine, the name under which New Somersetshire emerged in the royal christening.

Sir Ferdinando, remaining in England, sent over his nephew, Thomas Gorges, to act as local governor. Richard Vines, a gentleman sent out for trade and discovery, was already in the country.

At Boston, Stirling's emissary, James Forrett, came into contact with Thomas Mayhew, and being ready always to further his master's interests and to encourage the colonization of his lands, negotiation were opened with the Puritan merchant to accept a grant of one or more of the unsettled islands of Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket and those adjacent, eastward of Long Island; a part of the domain claime by Stirling.

 

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Martha's Vineyard, the largest and most fertile of these islands, had already been described in print by a number of early explorers, although Nantucket was not so well known. With a purchaser in sight it may be assumed that Stirling's agent pictured in glowing terms the forest-clad island of Martha's Vineyard, with its belt of hills to the north, its rolling plains and wild moors, its salt ponds leading to the sea, its cliffs at Nashaquitsa two hundred and twenty feet high, and the vast solitude of beach along the south shore where the waters of the Atlantic roll eternal. Perhaps with the book written by the historian of the Gosnold expedition before him as a text, he pictured the "chieftest trees" of this island which are beeches and cedars, the latter "tall and straight, in great abundance," and described the luxuriant flora which crowded the island from the waters of Vineyard Haven to the great south beach,from the multi colored cliffs at Gay Head to the pasture lands of Chappaquiddick, the "Cypress trees, Oakes, . . . . Elmes, Beech, Hollie, Haslenut . . . . Cotten trees," high timbered oaks, "their leaves thrice so broad as ours," and walnut trees in abun­dance; cherry trees that "beareth" fruit like a cluster of grapes, "forty or fifty in a bunch," and sassafras trees in "great plentie all the Island over."

Further the agent recounted how strawberries grown there were red and sweet and "bigger than ours in England," and raspberries, goose­berries, and huckleberries, and an "incredible store of Vines" extending even into the wooded parts of the island so dense that Gosnold's men could not "goe for treading upon them"; the vines from the presence of which the island took its name.

In surrounding waters nature, too, was lavish. Here whales, por­poises, cod, mackerel, herring, lobsters, crabs, muscles, and other fishes habitated in splendor and abundance. Oysters were found, and the succulent clam in shallow shores and coves.

To this endowment of flora and fauna Stirling's exclusive sales agent was able to add healthful breezes that swept in from the Atlantic on all sides. The location was one ideal for the maintenance of life and the settlement of colonies.

And to clinch the deal, where else in America could a man, not of the high council with the King, become the feudal proprietary of a group of islands, to rule like Alexander of Ross, Lord of the Isles, king of all he surveyed?

The arguments were convincing. As proprietary, Mayhew fore­

 

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saw how he could sell or lease the lands of his domains and gain a comfortable livelihood for himself, the main end of all such grants. Here, too, he could found a family with hereditary privileges, and restore the prestige of the Mayhew name. The colonization of these unset islands afforded an opportunity to restore a waning fortune, weak by the prevailing business depression. The vastness of the pre intrigued. We are told by Mayhew's grandson that nothing but largeness of the grant induced the merchant to essay the settlement these distant islands inhabited by unfriendly and murderous Indians as current knowledge had it.

After proper deliberation the Watertown merchant conclude, accept in part the opportunity to become the William Penn and Lord Baltimore of a New England barony. Choosing to purchase Nantucket Island, Forrett executed a patent to the merchant and his son,

authorizing them to "plant and inhabit" that place and other "small Islands adjacent," designating thereby Muskegat and Tuckernuck isles and to set up a government upon the islands similar to that established in the Massachusetts.

Ten days later a second instrument was drawn up which amplified Mayhew's territorial jurisdiction and authorized him to plant and inhabit also Martha's Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands.

Meanwhile, in a manner unknown, Richard Vines, the agent of Ferdinando Gorges, became cognizant of the transactions penned between Forrett and the Puritan merchant. Vines, who was the trust overseer of the Gorges interests in Maine and a councillor of the province, was at times a visitor to Boston. His opportune arrival in metropolis during the negotiations may have been chance, but it is more probable that Mayhew, unconvinced of Stirling's title, had communicated with Vines relative to the Gorges claim. Mayhew refer Vines as one he "then had much interest in."

Vines was a cavalier and Episcopalian and, although he had considerable trouble with the Massachusetts authorities in respect to encroachments in Maine, appears to have been on friendly terms with a number of the Puritan leaders. Mayhew and he, doubtless, had become acquainted through overlapping mercantile interests. It is difficult otherwise to account how Vines could have so quickly become aware of what was being done at Watertown and Boston. Vines "interrupted," says Mayhew, and presented for consideration the Gorges

 

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claim to the islands, showing Mayhew his master's patent-which would denote that he had come armed for the express business at hand.

The merchant was convinced by Vines "and Thomas Gorges, who was then Governor of the Province of Maine," that the right to the islands "was realy Sir Ferdynandoe's Right." From Vines he, accord­ingly, procured a second grant to the islands Capowack and Nautican, the deed running from "Richard Vines of Saco, Gentleman, Steward General for Sir Ferdinando Gorges, Knight and Lord Proprietor of the Province of Maine," to "Thomas Mayhew, Gentleman, his agents and associates."

Capowack was an Indian name sometimes applied to Martha's Vineyard, and Nautican is thought to be the name left Nantucket by the Norsemen during their venturesome voyages in the tenth and elev­enth centuries.

It is not believed that Stirling had legal claim to any of these islands. His grant from the New England Company, confirmed by the King, purported to grant, among other tracts, islands lying within five leagues distance of the mainland, being opposite and abutting upon the premises of any part thereof. The islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket lay fifty to eighty miles east of Long Island and were not within the terms of the grant. But the geography of the New World was not an exact science in the seventeenth century. In accordance with well established precedence, where doubt existed, Stirling's agent claimed in his master's behalf all that a liberal conscience would per­mit, thereby demonstrating himself a true and faithful servant. It was Mayhew's belief throughout life that his best title was derived from Gorges. Writing of these transactions in later years, he says: It came to pass, that Mr. Forrett went suddenly to England before he had showed me his Master's Pattent whome afterwards I never saw; Some Yeares after this came over one Mr. Forrester, furnished with Power, who was here with me, and told me he would cleare up all Things, and that I should be one of his Counsel; but he from hence went to Long Island, and from thence to the Dutch, where the Governor put him in Prison, and sent him a Prisoner into Holland, as I heard and I never saw him more.

                Then follows the significant statement, "Soe wee remained under Gorge."

                Consideration is not mentioned in the several grants, but it is known

 

 

 

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that the new proprietor paid forty pounds for his rights from Stirling and we have his own words that he paid Gorges "a Some of Mal for the islands Capowack and Nautican. Gorges appears to have made no claim to the Elizabeth Islands and Mayhew's title to these "many faire Islands" was derived from Stirling alone.

It is noticeable that ten days elapsed between the execution of two Sterling deeds. In the interim it is thought Thomas Mayhe­w, or someone in his behalf, made a hurried trip to Nantucket in an attempt to secure Indian rights, but that the purpose of the visit was not affected in so short a time. After the visit the new proprietor concluded to purchase the entire group with a hope of obtaining from the Indians gradually what could not at once be procured.

Both Gorges and Stirling reserved annual quit-rents to be paid Mayhew in feudal fashion, but effort was made by neither to this tribute. The distant isles of the sea, far flung from the shores of Maine, were soon forgotten by the Gorges proprietors, who were busy defending their rights elsewhere, and the several Earls of Stirling whose rapid succession of deaths left little time for attention to islands that constituted but a small fraction of their family's great landed holdings. In fact, the first Earl of Stirling was dead at the time of Forrett's grant to Thomas Mayhew.

The proprietary granted Thomas Mayhew comprised islands, constituting at the present day two counties and eight in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The islands of the Vineyard, with an area approximating one hundred square miles Nantucket with an area of about forty-seven square miles, made the bulk of the grants. Lesser islands were Tuckemuck, nearly two square miles in area, and Muskegat, three hundred acres, which with Nantucket and two small islets known as the Gravelly Islands, constitute the present county of Nantucket.

To the westward of Martha's Vineyard lie the Elizabeth Islands named in honor of the Virgin Queen by Gosnold the explorer. The chain of a dozen islands, large and small, are principally: Nunnamessett, two miles long by one-half mile wide, Monohanset,  Naushon, Weepecket, Pasque, Cuttyhunk, Nashawena, PeneGull Island, a small islet. Territorially these form the present town of Gosnold, and together with Martha's Vineyard and the island of No Man's Land constitute the County of Dukes.

For more than two centuries a number of the Elizabeth Islands

 

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have been maintained as country seats by distinguished masters, includ­ing members of the noted families of Winthrop, Bowdoin, and Forbes. On Cuttyhunk the explorer Bartholomew Gosnold, in 1602, estab­lished the first English settlement in this region of North America. A granite shaft on the island now stands to perpetuate the memory of this event. Penikese Island was for a time the location of Professor Louis Agassiz's school of comparative zoology known as the Ander­son School of Natural History, immortalized by Whittier in his poem, opening with the lines:

On the isle of Penikese, Ringed about by sapphire seas, Fanned by breezes salt and cool, Stood the Master with his school.

One of the earliest medical men in the country to conduct a hospital for inoculation against the smallpox was Dr. Samuel Gelston, who opened a hospital for that purpose on one of the Gravelly Islands, before the Revolution.

The islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are lonely isles of the sea, yet their names have been heard in every port of all the oceans. At Nantucket in particular was nourished the American whale fishery, which in the full vigor of its maturity startled the world with the scope of its activity and the extent of its daring. From Nantucket nurseries sprang a race of hardy and daring seamen in whose veins flowed the blood of the sea kings of Saga days. These were the Norse­men of New England. In frozen waters north and south their keels plowed beyond the known limits of navigation; under the blazing light of the tropics they pursued the great leviathan of the deep in wide seas never before traversed by vessels of a civilized country. "Exploring expeditions followed after to glean where they had reaped."

To the merchants and mariners of Nantucket must be accredited the brilliant development of the golden days of American whaling, an epoch of big game hunting on turbulent waters.

So identical was maritime life with the thrift and prosperity of the island that a Nantucket goodwife asked no better fortune than "a clean hearth and a husband at sea."

The men who bore the names of Coffin, Folger, Bunker, Starbuck, inherited names of seamen as great as ever stepped between the stem and stern of a ship.

 

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organized and the plantation's youthful leader called to its pastoral office. As pastor of one of the early churches of New England, he is ranked by modern authorities as one of the founders of the Congrega­tional Church in America.

He married, in 1647, Mistress Jane Paine, daughter of a prosper­ous London merchant, whose widow had become the elder Mayhew's second wife. The young bride had c6me into the Mayhew household as a child and had been raised with her future husband like a sister. In her mature years she proved a faithful and sacrificing helpmate.

The minister's "English Flock being then but small, the Sphere was not large enough for so bright a Star to move in. With great Com­passion he beheld the wretched Natives, who then were several thou­sands on those Islands, perishing in utter Ignorance of the true GOD, and eternal Life, labouring under strange Delusions, Inchantments, and panick Fears of Devils, whom they most passionately worshipped."

God, who had ordained him an evangelist for the conversion of these Indians, stirred him up with a holy zeal and resolution to labor for their illumination and deliverance. But the Indian was not eager to be served; with one noteworthy exception. Living near the English settlement was a native, called Hiacoomes. His descent was mean, his speech slow, and his countenance not very promising. He was looked on by the Indian sachems and others of their principal men as an object scarce worthy of their notice or regard.

Occasionally a settler would visit him in his wigwam and discourse with him concerning the English way of life. "A Man of sober, thoughtful, and ingenuous Spirit," he attended religious meetings, where he attracted the attention of the pastor of Great Harbor, who was even then contriving what he might do to effect the salvation of the Indian inhabitants. Writes Thomas Mayhew, Jr., "he came to visit our habitations and publike meetings, thinking that there might be bet­ter wayes and means amongst the English, for the attaining of the blessings of health and life, then could be found amongst themselves: Yet not without some thoughts and hopes of a higher good he might possibly gain thereby." Mayhew's compassion was aroused by the wistful eagerness of the simple Hiacoomes. He took pains to pay particular notice of him and to discourse with him as often as possible. He invited him to his house each Sunday night and instructed him in

 

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the principles of the Christian religion, with such success that in 1643 the conversion of Hiacoomes had become an accomplished fact.

Before the conversion of Hiacoomes a few isolated instances are of record of an occasional Indian professing an interest in the white man's religion. Report is made of an Indian in Plymouth Colony who as early as 1622 was induced, by the prompt reply of Heaven to the white man's prayers for rain, to seek a better knowledge of the new God, palpably in tbe interests of better and more frequent rains. The thirst of this novitiate appears to have been more scientific and agrarian than theological.

Shortly after the arrival of the English in the Massachusetts colony, a chief known to the settlers as Sagamore John, contracted an affection for Christianity concurrent with an attack of the smallpox.

A Pequot Indian named Wesquash was so impressed by the destruction of his tribe by the military genius of the English soldier that he importuned the Christians to make him acquainted with their God, whom he pictured the militant God of the Jews of old. Having become, as was supposed, says the chronicler, a sincere convert, this poor Indian died of poison given him, it is charged, by fellow-savages "incensed by his deflection from the gods of their fathers, This is the nearest approach to an actual conversion known prior to the unqualified and well authenticated acceptance of the new faith by Hiacoomes.

In all three cases no real conversion to religion appears; only an expressed desire to become better acquainted with the force that

endowed the white man with superior knowledge. Baptism was not administered,

It remained for Hiacoomes to become the first Indian convert to Christianity in New England, and the first American Indian to be ordained a clergyman.

At Martha's Vineyard was turned the first furrow in New England 'y an Englishman in the missionary field among the Indians. This was three years before similar labors were begun on the mainland by the great John Eliot,

Eliot first successfully preached to the Indians on the 28th of October, 1646, in a wigwam at a place afterwards called Nonatum. A few weeks prior he had made an unsuccessful effort at Dorchester Mill. In he year of these efforts Thomas Mayhew, Jr. addressed his first pub­ic concourse of size, having for a number of years used Hiacoomes as

 

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an "Instrument" to spread the seeds of the gospel. As early as 1644 Mayhew had begun to "visit and discourse them himself," going some­times to the houses of those he esteemed most rational and well quali­fied, and at other times treating with particular persons.

In the many letters of John Eliot and those written by persons interested in his labors, there is no evidence of the conversion of an Indian before the meeting of 1646.

The great successes that crowned the efforts of Thomas Mayhew, Jr., as a missionary sprang from his judicious interest in his first con­vert, Hiacoomes, who growing in faith "now earnestly desired to learn to read," writes the Rev. Experience Mayhew, "and having a primer given him, he carried it about with him till, by the help of such as were willing to instruct him, he attained the end for which he desired it." At first these actions brought down upon Hiacoomes the scorn of his fellow-countrymen, who "set up a great laughter" at their apostate neighbor pacing the paths of the forests, book in hand, as a priest paces a churchyard walk. Upon meeting him they would scoff   "Here comes the Englishman."              ­

One detractor, Pohkehpunnassoo, is quoted as having said to Hia­coomes: "I wonder that you, that are a young man, and have a wife and two children, should love the English and their ways, and forsake the Pawwaws. What would you do if any of you were sick? Whither would you go for help? If I were in your case, there should nothing draw me from our gods and Pawwaws."

Pohkehpunnassoo upon another occasion struck Hiacoomes "a grievous blow in the face" for saying that he was gladly obedient to the English in things both civil and religious. Of this incident Hia­coomes said: "I had one hand for injuries and another hand for God; and while I received wrong with the one, I laid the faster hold on God with the other." Hiacoomes' attacker, who was a sagamore, later became a convert. Before his conversion he was smitten with light­ning "and fell down in appearance dead, with one leg in the fire, being grievously burned before any of the people were aware of it." He was indeed a brand plucked from the fire.

Another native unfriendly to the new religion, asking Hiacoomes how many gods the English worshipped and being answered one, reckoned up thirty-seven principal gods worshipped by the Indians and said: "Shall I throwaway these thirty-seven gods for one?"

 

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It was indisputable that the Indian gods were mathematically supernatural to the divinity worshipped by the English; nevertheless, the labor, of Mayhew continued to bear fruit, largely through the teachings of Hiacoomes, prompted by the clergyman. The poet Whittier has picturesquely, but not the less accurately, spoken of Hiacoomes as the Forest Paul of his people.

Diligently Hiacoomes continued to spread the kssons taught him at many Sunday evening conferences in the minister's house at Great Harbor. The Indians marveled that Hiacoomes, who formerly had been considered of little consequence among them and had had nothing to say at their meetings, was now the teacher of them all.

The Indians, having many calamities fallen upon them about this time, laid the cause of all their wants, sicknesses, and death upon their departure from their old heathenish ways. In one year a strange diease came amongst them. The Indians ran "up and down till they could run no longer, they made their faces as black as coale, snatched up any weapon, spake great words, but did not hurt." Only Hiacoome, held out against the belief that Christianity was the cause of all the ill. of his race and continued his care about the things of God.

In 1646 a general sickness swept over Martha's Vineyard, but this time it was observed by the superstitious Indians that those among them who had harkened to the missionary's "pious Instructions" did not taste so deeply of the plague, while Hiacoomes, whom they had scoffed as an "Englishman," entirely escaped its ravages. They were amazed by the fact that one of their number who had repudiated the powwows should escape illness, while the orthodox were stricken. Improved sani­tary conditions among the Christianized Indians and a fear of disease on the part of the pagans, which lowered their powers of resistance, may account in part for the phenomenon.

Whatever the cause, a deep impression on the Indians was the out­come. Hiacoomes was sent for by Myoxeo, the chief man of a village of Indians, and by Towanquatick, a "sovereign Prince," to disclose to them all that he knew and did in the ways of God. The great men of the island, who had scorned Hiacoomes when a pagan, received him with respect as a Christian teacher. At this meeting many Indians were "gathered together." Hiacoomes "shewed unto them all things he knew concerning God the Father, Sonne and Holy Ghost." He told them that he feared not the thirty-seven principal Indian gods, yet

 

 

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was preserved; that he feared the great God only, and worshipped Him. He reckoned up to them many of their sins, as having many gods and going to the powwows. For the first time the Indians seemed sensible of having sin; formerly they had thought of sin as something not nearly concerning them, but somebody else. The chief result of the meeting was the conversion oLl\1yoxeo, who appears to have been the first of the chief men of the Island to become a Praying Indian. Hiacoomes and Myoxeo--the lowly and the high-within three years of each other had seen the Light.

Soon after this event,- Towanquatick, encouraged by other pagan Indians, invited Mr. Mayhew to give a public meeting in person, to make known to the Indians the word of God.

Said Towanquatick to the missionary: "You shall be to us as one that stands by a running river, filling many vessels; even so shall you fill us with everlasting knowledge."

It is an interesting insight into human nature to know that as long ago as 1647 the degeneracy of the younger generation was lamented among the Indians just as it is today in other quarters. In what May­hew identifies as "an Indian Speech worthy of consideration," the old sachem recounted: "That a long time agon, they had wise men which in a grave manne[taught the people knowledge, but they are dead, and their wisdome is buried with them: and now men lead a giddy life in ignorance, till they are white headed, and though ripe in years, yet they go without wisdome unto their graves." He wondered how the Indians could be fools still, when the English had been thirty years in the country, to give them good example.

The meeting held with T owanquatick and his braves was the first held in a public forum by the missionary, who theretofore had confined his preaching to individual Indians or to small groups kinc,lly disposed to the new way.

The conversion of Towanquatick, a nobleman, was the cause of much encouragement to the missionary for, on the Vineyard as else­where, the native ruling class was jealous of the influence of the new religion that threatened to wreck their power over a tribute paying peasantry. The introduction of Christianjty among the Indians had the tendency to mitigate the arbitrary rule and oppression of the sachems. The humble Indian learned from the white man something of the laws of natural right. He was content no longer to live in 'a

 

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state of submissive servitude to an irresponsible ruler. He was willing to pay tribute, and was encouraged to do so by Mayhew, but he insisted that his tribute or tax should be regulated by acknowledged and reasonable measures. The practice of the sachems of taking any property that struck their fancy whenever they desired it, and as often as they willed, had long ceased to charm the humble subject as an economic or governmentai doctrine, but until.the coming of the Eng­lish, it had been accepted as a matter not to be disputed.

It required a large degree of diplomacy and skill and great persua­sive powers on the part of the missionary to convert to the Christian religion a member of the Indian nobility under such circumstances.

In the story of his work, Thomas Mayhew Jr., tells of several "providences" that "advantaged" his progress in the conversion of the Indians. In times of sickness he pitted his skill in surgery against the mummeries of the powwows. Even so simple a remedy as bleeding the patient was found more efficacious than the antics of the Indian medi­cine man. The methods employed by the young missionary can best be told in his own language as recounted in a tract publishedin London:

I. There was one I esogat, about 60 years of age, who was sick of a consuming disease, inasmuch as the Indian Pawwawes gave him over for a dead man: Upon which resolution of all the Pawwawees in the Island, the sick distressed Heathen upon a Lord's day came unto mee, (the rest of the English being present), to desire me to pray unto God for him: And when I had, by reasoning with him, convinced him of theweaknesse and wickednesse of the Pawwawees power; and that if health were to be found, it must be had from him that gave life and health and all things; I recommended this case unto the Lord, whereof he rejoyced, gave me thanks, and he speedily recovered unto his former strength.

2. In this present year, 1647, the eldest sonne of one Pakapanes­sue, a great Sagamore of the Island, being very sick, took occasIOn to send for me to come unto him: and when I came unto him, I found him not more weak in body, than strong in earnest desire that I should pray unto God for him; so I instructed Him and prayed for him: And when I had ended,of his own accord he spake these words:- Taubot mannit nuh quam Covin, viz. I thank thee God,-I am heavy to sleep; and so I left holding forth good affections :-But shortly after he was changed altogether, and contrary to the perswasion of other Indians, of several Townes, sought unto witches. The Heathen seeing this, they forsook the wigwam, saying, We leave the house for the Devill, and them that would tarry; this newse being brought to me, I much

 

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marvailled at, yet sent him this message, viz. Tell Saul, (for the sick man was, by the English so called,) that when I was with him, I thought, as I then told him, that he would live, because he sought for life unto the living God, where if any where it was to be found; but tell him now, that I think he will dye. I also added the example of Ahaziah, who Decause he had the knowledge of the great God, and sought the inferiour God, God was angry with him, and killed with him: And so for that this Saul was iriformed of the true God, and is fallen from him to the earthen gods here below; that God will kill him also; and so it shortly came to passe.

Not long after this event, it happened that the eldest son of the sagamore Towanquatick became sick of a fever. This young man, his faith in the powwows shaken, sent for Mayhew.

And when I came [recounts Mayhew], his father and himself desired me to pray for him, the which I did in their owne language, and promised to come againe unto him very shortly if he mended not, and use some other meanes also for his recovery: When I came againe unto him, I found him very ill, asked him (together with his friends) whether they were willing I should let him blood? acquainting them that we used so to do in such cases. After some consideration, they consented thereunto, notwithstanding the Pawaws had told them before, that he should dye, because he sought not unto them: so I bound his arme, with my Pen-knife let him blood, he bled freely, but was exceeding faint, which made the Heathen very sad; but in a short time, he begun to be very cheerfull, whereat they much rejoyced, &c. So I left them, and it pleased the Lord the man was in a short time after very well. :

In the year 1647 was held a great "general Meeting" of all the Indians that were inclined to Christianity to confirm and assist one another in their new belief.

This Assemble was held in Mr. Mayhew's Presence, .and therein he tells us, ,that twelve of the young Men-weneand shook Sacochanimo, Towanquatick'seldest Son, by the Hand, telling him, They loved him, and would go with him in GOD' s Way,. and the elder Men encouraged them, and deseired them never to forget these Promises and so after they had eaten, and sang part of a Psalm in their own Language, and Mr. Mayhew had prayed, they returned home with Expressions of grea t Joy and ,Thankfulness.

Matthew Mayhew says of this meeting: "It pleas'd God to give such success to these endeavours, that it was not long before he [Thomas Mayhew, Jr.] obtain'd publick audience among them, when

 

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generally he spent more time after sermon in reasoning with them than in sermon; whereby I must tell my reader, it came to pass that their religion was as well in head as heart."

It had been Mayhew's intent to give the Indians a meeting in per. son once a month, but after the first meeting the Indians, thirsting for knowledge, desired that he preach to them oftener than he could well

attend, so he determined to give them audience once a fortnight, and,) upon other occasions that they should be attended by Hiacoomes.

To these lectures came men, women, and children. The mission. ary would open services with a prayer, then he would preach, catechize, and close by singing a psalm, all in their own language.

The missionary, continues Matthew Mayhew, "is incessant" in his labor, "he spares not his body by night nor day; lodges in their houses, proposes such things to their consideration he thinks firstly requisite, solves all their scruples and objections, and tells them they might plainly see, it was in good will for their good, from whom he expected no reward; that he sustained so much loss of time, and endured wet and cold."

Says another writer: "His talent lay in a sweet affable way of conversation" that won the affections of his wild converts.

"He treats them in a condescending and friendly manner. He denies himself, and does his utmost to oblige and help them. He takes all occasions to show the sincere and tender love and goodwill he bore them; and as he grows in their acquaintance and affection, he proceeds to express his great concern and pity for their immortal souls. He tells them of their deplorable condition under the power of malicious devils, who not only kept them in ignorance of those earthly good things which might render their lives in this world much more com­fortable, but also of those which might bring them to eternal happiness in the world to come-what a kind and mighty god the English serve, and how the Indians might come into his favor and protection."

Numerous obstacles, however, impeded the progress of the mission. Many of the Indians objected to the new religion saying that their own meetings, ways, and customs associated with dance and song, incanta­tions and gymnastics were to them more advantageous and agreeable than the sober ritual of the English, who had nothing to offer but "talk­ing and praying." Others feared the sagamores, who generally were against the new way. There were three things that the Indians gen­

 

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"'lIlly inquired into. They wanted to know what earthly riches they WOIiId get by becoming Christians; how the sagamores and rnlers WOlild look at it; and what the powwows would do. Greatest of all WIIS the fear of the anger of the powwows who bewitched enemies and uubelievers. This was the strongest cord that bound the Indian to '0 the old order.

The powwows by their diabolical sorceries kept the Indian in a .Iavish state of fear and subjection. In many places and in many '"ngues, earthly priests have professed strange powers from above ol'cr the destination of man's soul in its eternal ffight.

We are glad to learn that the persecution of heretics is not an ILttribute of Christianity alone, for we are told that the sagamore 'J"'wanquatick was exceedingly maligned by the powwows for his devia­lion from the Indian faith and that "in 1647 his Life was villainously III tempted for his favouring the Christian Religion: but his great I )eliverance . . . . inffamed him with the more active Zeal to espouse lIud assert it."

This incident was reported by Thomas Mayhew, Jr., in these words:

We had not long continued the meeting, but the Sagamore Towan­

'fila tick met with a sad tryal, for he being at a Weare where some I ndians were a fishing, where also was an English man, as he lay along upon a matt on the ground asleep, by a little light fire, the night being very dark, an Indian came down, as being ready fitted for the purpose, and being about six or eight paces from him, let fiie a broad headed arrow, purposing by all probability to drench the deadly arrow in his heart blood, hut the Lord prevented it; for notwithstanding all the advantages he had, instead of the heart he hit the eye.brow, which like a brow of steele turned the point of the arrow, which, glancing away, slit the top of his nose to the hottome. A great stirre there was presently, the Sagamore sate up, and hied much, but was not much hurt through the mercy of God; the darknesse of the night hid the rnurtherer, and he is not discovered to this day. The next morning I went to see the Sagamore, and I found him praising God for his great deliverance, both himself and all the Indians, wondering that he was yet alive. The cause of his being shot, as the Indians said, was for his walking with the English; and it is also conceived, hath by them and us that his forwardnesse for the meeting was one thing, which (with the experience I have had of him since) gives me matter of strong perswasion that he beares in his brow the markes of the Lord Jesus.

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Another Indian had news "often brought to him that his life WRI laid in wait for, by those that would surely take it from him, th.y desired him therefore with speed to turn back again; The man cam' (II me [Thomas Mayhew, Jr.] once or twice, and I perceived that he W'II troubled, be asked my counsel about removing his Habitation, yet told me, That if they should stand with a sharp weapon against his brea't, and tell him that they would kill him presently, if be did not turn tn them, but if he would, they would love him, yet he had rather lose hi. life than keep it on such terms, for (said he) wheu I look back on my life as it was before I did pray to God, I see it to be wholly naught, and do wholly dislike it, and hate those naugbty waies; but when I

look on that way which God doth teach me in his Word, I see it to b. wholly good; and do wholly love it."

                "Blessed be God that he is not overcome by these temptations,"

concludes Mayhew.

Christian meetings went on "to the Joy of some Indians, and th'. Envy of the rest, who derided and scoffed at those who attended the Lecture, and blasphemed the God whom they worshipped."

In the year 16+8 was held a great convention. At this meet, ing there was in attendance a "Mixed Multitude, both of Infidel and Christian Indiaus, and those who were in doubt of Christianity."

In this Assembly the dreadful Power of the Pawaws was publickly debated, many assertiug their Power to hurt and kill, and alledging numerous instances that were evident and undoubted among tbem: and then some asking aloud, Who is there that does not fear them? Others reply'd, There is not a man that does not.

Now it was that Hiacoomes rose to his feet and facing the great;1

concourse, defied the Indian gods, challenging, "tho the Pawaws might hurt those that feared them, yet he believed and trusted in the GREAT GOD of Heaven and Earth, and therefore all the Pawaws could do him no Harm, and he feared them not."

The awed multitude gazed upon the speaker, awaiting the wrath of thirty-seven gods to descend. Minutes passed, but nothing came. At which the Indians "exceedingly wondered," and observing that Hia­coomes remained unhurt, began to esteem him happy in being delivered from the terrible power of the powwows.

In casting aside the prejudies of yesterday for the light of a new day, the lowly Hiacoomes in his speech reached heights attained by few

98

Men.  The episode of Hiacoomes braving the time honored superstition of his race and defying the beliefs of generations in demons and spirits that struck anathema to unbelievers is worthy the poet's song.

One wonders, with material of this sort upon which to draw, that the cherry tree traditions of our country could have so long endured.

The spell of the powwows weakened, several of the assembly took courage to profess that they too now believed in the white man's God  and  would fear the powwows no more. They desired Hiacoomes tell them what this great God would have them do, and what were the things that offended him. Hiacoomes responded promptly with a list  of forty-five or fifty sorts of sins committed by the Indians, "and as many contrary Duties neglected"-or sins of omission-which so amazed and touched their consciences that by the end of the meeting Twenty-two novitiates were added to the number of converts, among whom was Momonequem, a son of one of the principal Indians, who in after time became a preacher.

In this connection it is of interest to note that many of the most persevering  converts were young men of good family whose minds had not been hardened by precedence.

Momonequem was one such convert. It was he who in 165 I accom­panied the Rev. Thomas Mayhew, Jr., to Boston, where he was interviewed by the celebrated Rev. John Wilson, pastor of the First Church in that town, by whom he is described as "a grave and solemn Man,

with whom I had serious discourse, Mr. Mahewe being present as Interpreter between us, who is a great proficient both in knowledge and IIlterance, and love, and practice of the things of Christ, and of Reli. _ion, much bonoured and reverenced, and attended by the rest of the I"dians there, who are solemnly Covenanted together, I know not how II",ny, but between tbirty or forty at the least."

Mayhew tells us that when Momonequem's wife was suffering I hree days in travail, Momonequem refused the "Help of a Pawwaw who lived within two Bow-sbot of his door," but waited "patiently on God till they obtained a merciful Deliverance by Prayer." It is not known what Momonequem's wife thought of this exemplification of raith without works, but probably it did not matter as women were of no great importance in the seventeenth century, particularly among Ihe Indians.

When reports of Hiacoomes' defiance of the powwows reached

 

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them, the entire island priesthood became greatly enraged. The gauntlet which had been cast at them was accepted, and they threatened the utter destruction of Hiacoomes.

A powwow, very angry and loud, broke in upon a meeting on. Sunday, where Hiacoomes was preaching, and challenged the convert, with the taunt: "I know all the meeting Indians are liars; you soy you don't care for the Pawwaws." Then calling two or three of them by name, he railed at them, and told them they were deceived, for the powwows could kill all the Praying Indians if they set about it.

Hiacoomes retorted that he put all the powwows under his heel, pointing to it; that he could stand in the midst of all the powwows on the island with safety and without fear, and they could do him no harm for he would remember Jehovah.

 

For a considerable time Hiacoomes was the especial object of the sorceries of the powwows. Every trick of their craft was used by them in their effort to disable him, but to no avail. Hiacoomes was immune to the psychological bugaboos of the pagan priests, one of whom later confessed in public of having often employed his god, who appeared unto him in the form of a snake, to kill, wound, or lame Hiacoomes. His efforts proving ineffectual, he began to seriously consider Hia­comes assertion that the Christian God was greater than the gods he served, and in time resolved to worship the Englishman's God with Hiacoomes.

 

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Gone are the fleets of the Golden 'Forties, the many hundreds of sails that explored distant waters and carried "the name and fame of Nantucket" into unknown seas, where a harvest was gleaned in blubber and oil. The stern, hardy, brave, workaday race that flew the American Flag first in an English port after the Revolution of 1776, that opened seas into which flowed the commerce of the civilized world, and discovered islands in the South Pacific before scientists dared to ven­ture, is no more.

In silent graves the captains lie, upon the sea-girt Island of Nantucket, or far away in Pacific waters where aeons of tides surge over their bones. Their names are given to the world wherever strange little islands lie on maps like isolated dots. The flow of water on sandy shores was their lullaby in childhood, its unceasing surge is their requiem.

Overshadowed by her neighboring island in the commercial aspect of the fishery, Martha's Vineyard, too, has been the nursery of a hardy race of seamen, amphibious men able to plow the waters and the land with equal facility. Grizzled mariners have come home to spend the twilight of life upon a farm in bucolic safety to reap fields of hay and shear flocks of sheep.

Martha's Vineyard, unlike Nantucket, is agricultural to a degree and whaling has not been its sole life. It was not until the first half of the nineteenth century that a great proportion of its male population found its way to the sea.

Although the majority of whaling ships in the heyday of the indus­try were owned and registered at Nantucket and New Bedford, a great number of them were commanded by Vineyard men, who were considered the best navigators and whalemen in the world. Due to the bar that rendered dangerous access to the harbor of Nantucket, Edgartown on the Vineyard was for many years the port of Nantucket, and at Edgartown wharves nearly all the Nantucket whaling ships unloaded their cargoes and fitted out fresh voyages.

J. Hector St. John, the eighteenth century traveler, observes in his account of a visit to the Vineyard a lack of drunkenness and debauchery on the part of returned seamen. "On the contrary," writes he, "all was peace here, and a general decency prevailed throughout; the rea­son, I believe is, that almost everybody here is married; for they get wives very young; and the pleasure of returning to their families absorbs every other desire. The motives that lead them to the sea are

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

very different from those of most other seafaring men. It “is neither idleness nor profligacy that sends them to that element; it is a settled plan of life, a well-founded hope of earning a livelihood. Here I found without gloom a decorum and reserve, so natural to them, that I thought myself in Philadelphia," adds the Pennsylvania author.

After the decline of the whale fishery in eastern ports, Vineyard captains, sailing from San Francisco, pursued the industry in its last brilliant glow among the icebergs of the Arctic.

Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are now the "Summer Isles" of the vacationist. They have for many years been popular watering places. Their hospitable shores know annually thousands of pleasure loving people who come to boat, swim, fish, and ride, to walk quaint streets and view dwellings that have housed generations of elders, judges, merchants, and sea captains, clustered about with the traditions of the salt water aristocracy. The nobility of its olden days was not that of the Sacred Cod, but the Royal Whale, the kingly mammal which, when cast up by the sea upon his shores, the sovereign claimed a share.

Every year visitors listen to the legend that the islands were once the property of a lord who, like King Lear, saw fit to apportion them among his daughters. The story goes that Rhoda took Rhode Island, Elizabeth took the Elizabeth Islands, Martha took Martha's Vine­yard, and as for the remaining island, Nan-took-it. The credulous should be warned that this interesting bit of romance cannot be traced with certainty back of 1870.

Martha's Vineyard has another claim to fame better supported. It is believed by such eminent authorities as Edward Everett Hale and the Hon. Henry Cabot Lodge to be the island scene of Shakespeare's play, "The Tempest." Gosnold's voyage was sent out by the Earl of Southampton, a patron of the arts, with whom Shakespeare was friendly. It is said that the trees, plants, fish and animal life of the island in the play are described in the very words used by John Brere­ton in his "Brefe Relation" of Gosnold's voyage, and that whole phrases from the tract are reproduced and fitted to Shakespearean blank verse.

In the years, following Gosnold's voyage these almost fabled islands off the coast of North America fired the imaginations of men. Through­out all England they were a popular subject of conversation. Walter Raleigh fitted out an expedition under Martin Pring which brought

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

back sassafras; Southampton, Sir Ferdinando Gorges, and Captain John Smith sent out vessels in search of gold. The Plymouth Company was formed. Then came the "Mayflower" Pilgrims and the great Puritan migration to the adjoining coasts, "that strange, psalm-singing race of amphibious fighters, who alike could shatter the Armada and the squadron of Prince Rupert at Marston Moor."

America was born.

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

CHAPTER VI

 

THE CHILDREN OF THE FOREST

 

A number of early writers have left detailed descriptions of the appearance and habits of the Indians who inhabited the woods and shores of New England and the islands of the Mayhew proprietary at the coming of the white settlers.

The habits and customs of the red man and his mode of life were strange to the eyes of the European fresh from the civilization of the old hemisphere, and still more strange to the ear of the skeptic at home. It is not to be marveled at that narrations of the new country early appeared in print which touched with detail the native inhabitants of the land.

Among the better known of these accounts mention may be made of Josselyn's "Account of Two Voyages to New England" and William Wood's "New England Prospect." Both of these are written in a lively tone with an ambition to entertain the stay-at-home in England. Josselyn's reputation as an observer is not highly rated, but fortunately the New England Indian was described by other than dilettant writers. Missionaries went among a number of the Indian tribes and in their writings is found a minute and faithful portrayal of the red man in his native surroundings.

Daniel Gookin's "Historical Collections of the Indians of Massa­chusetts" is one of the best of the early narratives, presenting as it does a continuous uninterrupted story of Indian life and character.

Gookin exercised for many years civil supervision over the Indians of Massachusetts who acknowledged English government. As superin­tendent of Indians and as a magistrate sitting in determination of their disputes, he was in a position to gain an accurate first hand knowledge of the Indian psychology. Gookin's history bears the hall mark of years of conscientious observation and the attitude of a friendly mind. It is the standard Puritan account of the Indians of New England.

Better authorities cannot be found to picture the seventeenth cen­tury Indian as he actually was than Gookin and the several missionaries, John Eliot, Thomas Mayhew, Jr., Matthew Mayhew, and others; some if not all, of whom went among the Indians, slept in their wig­

 

37

 

wams, sat in their councils, spoke their language, and won their confi­dence in spiritual and civil affairs.

Unlike Cooper and Longfellow, their observations are photo­graphic likenesses of the New England Indian of pioneer days, not conclusions drawn from tradition or studies made two hundred years after the landing of the Pilgrims. The missionaries were sober, observ­ant, unromantically minded men, writing what they knew to be the truth after intimate association with all ranks of Indian life. In their writings one finds little to justify the prosy thoughts of the literati of the nineteenth century.

Although later studies by students among isolated tribes disclose traits substantially akin to those which characterized the red man of New England in the seventeenth century, a difference, nevertheless, existed. More than two hundred years of contact, occasional or other­wise, with traders, frontiersmen, and missionaries had left their mark, in some respects good, in others bad.

To deduce by belated observations among distinct tribes living under different geographic conditions what the Indian of New England was like before he was "corrupted" by European civilization seems a ridiculous thing in view of the fact that we have contemporary accounts accurately penned by qualified observers. A number of missionary tracts were written while the Indian was still "untouched and unspoiled by the European," to borrow a sonorous phrase from the philanthropic literati.

The abstractions of ethnological speculation pursued along modern lines of philosophic appreciation by certain students would appear visionary to the early settlers and missionaries who came into rugged con­tact with the untutored savage.

Roger Williams, whose knowledge of the Indian nature was so great that he was able to exercise a tremendous influence in their affairs, could only speak of them as "a few inconsiderable pagans, and beasts, wallowing in idleness, stealing, lying, whoring, treacherous witch­crafts, blasphemies, and idolatries."

Gookin, who suffered persecution by his countrymen for his friend­liness to the Christianized Indians in time of Indian war, described the natives as very brutish and barbarous, "not many degrees above beasts."

The Reverend John Wilson referred to them, we are told with compassion, as the most sordid and contemptible part of the human species, while the great Hooker said of them that they were the veriest

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

ruins of mankind upon the face of the earth. Even the saintly John Eliot, whose labors and sacrifices among the Indians became a house­hold word, could speak of them only as "the dregs of mankind."

It was Parkman who said, "The benevolent and philanthropic view of the American savage is for those beyond his reach. It has never yet been held by any whose wives and children have lived in danger of his scalping knife."

He is lovingly referred to as a child, but he was a man bloodthirsty and revengeful to the point of horror, and only a child in his lack of mental development.

The literati have found it easier to write of the Indian in the con­ventional style than to present him in sober words. It is not the first time truth has been prostituted for the sake of a well turned sentence or the repetition of a poetic thought. There is not much about the Indian that is romantic to one who must associate with him. He is only romantic to the cloistered student, the detached tourist, or the novelist.

To gain an accurate picture of the Indian of New England in 'the early years of the seventeenth century, one's mind must be purged of many preconceived notions implanted by the "Leather-Stocking Tales" and "Hiawatha."

Such works are executed with applications of Turner-like colors by word artists of vivid imagination. They seize a few of the Indian's most picturesque qualities, his dignity, his lust for freedom, his con­tempt for manual labor, his vaunted prowess as a hunter, and by the use of adjectives, establish a literature. Throughout the whole civilized world the concept of the Indian character promulgated by this school has taken permanent hold of the imagination of the reading public. These tales are often read in the earlier years of life. They lend so indelible an impression on the juvenile mind that, while individuals in years of discretion may cast out these Cooper-colored lithographs of brain thought, no amount of denials will ever erase their colorful lines in the minds of the masses.

James Fennimore Cooper was born more than a century and a half after the "Mayflower" sought refuge in the harbor at Cape Cod. Cooper is said to have made a study of the Indians, but his studies were among the Indians of the Six Nations, who are considered a superior group, and who had for centuries been in contact with the whites.

  In order that he might better study their habits, Cooper is said to

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have followed numerous Indian delegations that passed his house in upper New York on their way to interview the Great Father at Wash­ington. He saw the Indian at his best, in councils of oratory. If there was any one thing in which the Indian excelled, it was oratory, mainly an oratory that pictured himself in glowing colors and belittled his enemies. We are told by missionaries that the Indian was so emi­nently satisfied with his own inherent goodness that it was difficult at times to inculcate in him a fear of damnation. Hell he conceived as fitting punishment for his enemies, but something apart from himself. The Indians of the plains and of upper New York and Canada are the Indians most studied by the literary authorities as remnants of the aboriginal inhabitants of America. But the whooping Indian of the plains pursuing herds of buffalo upon ponies were not the 1ndians of New England seen by the missionaries Eliot, the Mayhews, Bournes, and Tuppers. The Indians of New England appear to have been a far less romantic race than the Indians of Cooper and Longfellow.

The "Puritan Indians" did their hunting with ineffectual weapons, arrows pointed with bits of crude stone or eagle's claws. Thus armed the huntsman was able to wing an occasional unsuspecting bird, more often by attributes of stealth and cunning than with the full lunged baldness of open spaces. With the psychological development of a child, the red man could concoct a jungle of living beasts pursued by mighty hunters out of a picture copy-book.

Governor Hutchinson, of Massachusetts, who lived in the middle of the eighteen century, suggests in his history of Massachusetts the possibility that the Indians of New England were inferior to tribes residing elsewhere. Tales that came to him of Indians to the north plentifully endowed with virtue, dignity, courage, and hardihood, did not coincide with his own personal observations. One suspects the farther away the Indian, the more noble his qualities appeared.

As time diminished the Indian ranks and his menace grew less, the more he was romanticized in wild west shows, motion pictures, and poetry by effete descendants of the hardy pioneers, or those whose ancestors waited until the country had been made safe for the immigrant. To the city dweller, the author, and the poet, there is something romantic about outdoor life and communion with nature; and so long as the individual is surrounded with all the conveniences of civilization, nor goes without them for any length of time, the illusion is not dispelled.

 

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It is not the purpose here to decide whether the Indian has received the treatment justly his due in the many years that have passed since the establishment of the United States government. It may be said in passing that a recent Indian writer has said that the red man had little to complain of in his relations with the colonists, but that the cause of his disgruntlement has arisen largely since the advent of Federal supervision.

The following description of the American Indian of the seven­teenth century is confined to the Indians of New England, and is grounded in contemporary sources, in mainly the writings of Gookin, Thomas Mayhew, Jr., Matthew Mayhew, and Roger Williams.

The aborigines whom the early settlers found inhabiting the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket were members of that great race known as the Algonquin, to which family the numerous New England tribes mainly belonged. In southern New England these tribes were united into a number of great confederacies. One of these, the Paw­kunnawkutts, claimed a tract bounded laterally by the Taunton and Pawtucket rivers far some distance, in the present county of Bristol, Rhode Island, and held sway along the shores of Buzzard's Bay.

It was this nation that claimed fealty of the Indian's of Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. There were nine separate cantans or tribes holding membership in this confederation, each governed by its own petty sachem, but all subject to the great sachem of the Wamponoags, the dominant tribe of the confederation.

Of the Pawkunnawkutts it is said they "were a great people heretofore. They lived to the east and northeast of the Narragansitts; and their chief sachem held dominion over divers other petty sagamores; as the sagamores upon the island of Nantuckett, and Nope, or Martha's Vineyard, of Nawsett, of Mannamoyk, of Sawkuttukett, Nobsquasitt, Matakees, and several others, and same of the Nipmucks. Their country, for the most part, falls within the jurisdiction of New Plymouth Colony. This people were a potent nation in former times; and could raise, as the most credible and ancient Indians affirm, about three thousand men. They held war with the Narragansitts; and often joined with the Massachusetts, as friends and confederates, against the Narragansitts. This nation, a very great number of them, were swept away by an epidemical and unwonted sickness, in 1612 and 1613, about seven or eight years before the English first arrived in these parts to settle the colony of New Plymouth."

41

 

Wamsutta, chief of this confederacy and elder brother of the famed King Philip or Metacomet, once attempted to sell his rights to the island of Martha's Vineyard to a merchant of Rhode Island. Wamsutta and Philip were sons of Mattasoit, the great chief of the

Wampanoags. Following the practice of the Indians that if any of their sachems or neighbors died who were of their name they should lay down that name as dead, the eldest son of Wamsutta appeared at Plym­outh after his father's death with the request that English names be given him and his brother.

The request was granted. Wamsutta received the name of Alex­ander, the great conqueror of the world, which doubtless pleased the vanity of the Indian king. Upon Metacomet was bestowed the name of Philip. Wamsutta died within a year after his succession to the office of chief sachem, and was in turn succeeded by Philip.

An interesting story is told how Philip's home village at Mount Hope was pictured on European maps as the "seat" of King Philip,

and how English publishers in preparing year books fell into the error or recounting the "interesting" fact that King Philip of Spain had a country seat in the wilds of America. The English annalists knew their Almanac de Gotha, but were weak on the orders of Algonquin nobility. As early as 1665 Philip appeared at Nantucket in company with a large band of warriors for the purpose of killing a Nantucket Indian who had spoken the name of one dead, supposedly Philip's father or brother, in violation of Indian custom. In its several publications the story varies, but substantially it is told that Philip, landing at the west end of Nantucket, proceeded to travel along the shore under the pro­tection of the bank, in order that his presence might not be divulged. But his approach and purpose were divined by one of the island Indians who sped ahead, and warned the intended victim, Assassamoogh, known to the English as John Gibbs, in after years a noted Christian Indian and preacher of the gospel to his countrymen. Assassamoogh fled to the English settlement, where he sought protection, and where Philip appeared with his army, vastly superior in numbers to the handful of English settlers then resident on the island, and made demand for the delivery of the refuge. The English parried with Philip and after considerable persuasion and pow-wowing were able to buy him off, although the amount they were able to collect in so short a time was barely sufficient to appease the haughty Philip for his forbearance.

 

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Philip is known to have planned his war of extermination many years before 1675 and it is probable that he took advantage of the opportunity afforded him at this time to strengthen his claim of jurisdiction over the Nantucket Indians, but without success. At a town meeting the sachem Attaychat signified himself with all the Tomokom­moth Indians subject to the English government of Nantucket and that they did own themselves subjects to King Charles II "in the presence of Molocon, alias Philip Sachem of Mount Hope."

The territory of the Mayhew islands was divided into several gov­ernmental cantons. At Martha's Vineyard these were four in number: Chappaquiddick at the far eastern end of the island and Aquiniuh or Gay Head at the far western end, the former an island, or nearly so, and the latter a promontory connected by a narrow neck. The main body of the island was divided into two sachemships known as Nunne­pog and Takemmy, embracing roughly the present towns of Edgar­town and Tisbury, respectively. Four chiefs or sagamores ruled these several divisions, which in turn were subdivided into petty sachemships, where ruled local magnates within defined limits.

There does not appear to have been any single chieftain on the island to whom the four great sachems yielded precedence, and it is probable that these head men were directly responsible to some chief on the main or to the great chief of the Wampanoags himself "in capite."

On Nantucket the native population was divided into two tribes. One tribe occupied the west end and was supposed to have come from the mainland by way of the island of Martha's Vineyard. The other lived at the east end and is said to have come directly across the Sound from the mainland.

Nantucket was divided into three or perhaps four primary sachem­ships. The senior sachem or prince when the English came to the island was Wannochmamock, who was sachem more particularly of the northwest part of Nantucket, but who, with an Indian named Nicka­noose, exercised general control over all the Indians of the island. He and Nickanoose are termed "head sachems," but it is believed that Wannochmamock was senior in rank, and that Nickanoose ruled coadjutor on account of the former's great age.

The home life of the Indian was simple and largely nomadic. Upon Martha's Vineyard the tribe lived in several villages or towns. These were of no permanency, composed as they were of loosely con­

 

 

 

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structed wigwams, which their owners moved about as they willed in accordance with the food supply and the season. Josselyn tells of hav­ing seen half a hundred wigwams together on a piece of ground, where they showed "prettily" yet within a day or two, or a week, were all dispersed. Each tribe, however, moved freely only within the confines of its particular sachemship. The Indians' of New England were not nomadic in the degree popularly believed.

The principal village in Nunnepog was on the shores of the Great Herring Pond, near Maschachket, while that of Takemmy was on the Great Tisbury Pond. Chappaquiddick and Gay Head each had its chief village. Within the territorial limits of each petty sachem smaller communities or abiding places of more or less permanence existed.

The Indian wigwams, described by the younger Mayhew, were made of small poles like an arbor covered with mats; "their fire is in the midst, over which they leave a place for the smoak to go out at." They did not use skins for a covering as the animals of the island were not numerous enough for that purpose.  To the Indian mind, life on the Vineyard, although it lacked ani­mals necessary to make it a "happy hunting ground," was somewhat idyllic. Nature had been bountiful in her lavishment of wealth. Its sandy soil responded favorably to the cultivation of squashes, beans, and maize. Shellfish lay in profusion on the shores, and fish and eels abounded in surrounding waters. For this reason the island supported a larger population for the area than did the mainland.

The fact that the islanders had not been smitten by the plague which had swept the mainland a few years before the coming of the "Mayflower" is attributable, in part, to the fact that the Indians were better nourished and less susceptible to plagues than their brothers on the main.

The native population on the several islands at the time of the first settlement is generally estimated at Martha's Vineyard to have been not less than 3,000 and at Nantucket 1,500. Accounts have set the figure at Nantucket as high as 3,000. Matthew Mayhew, grandson of Thomas, estimates the number of adult persons on both islands at about 3,000, in reference to which he states, "I have taken the more particular care to make an exact computation, that I might vindicate Mr. Cotton Mather from the imputation of over reckoning, when in the life of Mr. Eliot he reckons the number supposed on Martha's Vineyard professing the Christian religion, to be sixteen hundred."

 

 

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It is difficult at this late day to do more than generalize the disposition of the island Indians. A number of early writers describe the Algonquins as a courteous and well disposed people, yet warlike and revengeful. Brereton describes the Vineyard Indian as courteous and gentle of disposition, yet these Indians are known to have killed a number of English seamen, and it is of record that at Nantucket a number of sailors and others wrecked upon its shores were murdered by the natives.

The lawyer Lechford reports that the Indians of Martha's Vine­yard were very savage and Josselyn tells us that while he was in the country certain Indians at Martha's Vineyard seized a boat that had put into a cove and killed the men on board and ate them up in short time. It may be inferred that the island Indian was relatively cour­teous and well disposed, considering his state of savagery, but that his good nature was more or less subject to barometrical disturbances. He was not above an occasional massacre, either for the purpose of fulfill­ing the fine exactments of revenge which constituted the aboriginal code of honor, or as a bit of legitimate warfare to vary the monotony of life. The lust of battle was as much a part of the Indian's life as the cry of the chase.

The earliest record of warfare at the Vineyard is a record of the white man's perfidy, and the brutality that followed may be cited as an example of the Indian's exactment of revenge. One Captain Edward Harlow sailing from England in 1611 touched at the island where he "tooke" two savages, one of whom was known by the name of Epenew. In the course of time Epenew came into the possession of Sir Ferdinando Gorges, who it will be remembered, was much inter­ested in the colonization of America. Observing a similarity of lan­guage, Gorges had the native lodged with another Indian servant. Epenew was a bold, artful, and cunning individual. With the servant he contrived a plan of escape which hinged on the Englishman’s lust for gold. Ascertaining that this was what the English wanted most, the natives assured Gorges that it was to be found in abundance at a cer­tain place on Martha's Vineyard.

Gorges was not entirely duped. He suspected Epenew's good faith. However, he fitted an expedition under command of Captain Hobson, which set sail within the year, carrying Epenew and two other savages under strict surveillance. Coming to the harbor at Martha's Vineyard, where Epenew was to make good his undertaking, the prin­

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thin beared; they make beards of the haire of beasts; and one of them offered a beard of their making to one of our sailors, for his that grew on his face, which because it was of a red colour they judged to be none of his owne."

"They are quicke eied, and stedfast in their looks, fearelesse of others harmes, as intending none themselves; some of the meaner sort given to filching, which the very name of Saluages (not weighing their ignorance in good or will) may easily excuse: their garments of Deere skins, and some of them weare furres round and close about their necks."

Josselyn adds to this, "as the Austreans are known by their great lips, the Bavarians by their pokes under their chins, the Jews by their goggle eyes, so the Indians by their flat noses, yet they are not so much deprest as they are to the Southward."

A number of the early chroniclers were gallant gentlemen and interested in the Indian woman, whose complete subjection to her "lazie" husband, was to them a matter of amazement and comment.

Witness the admiration of Brereton for the island squaws: "Their women (such as we saw), which were but three in all, were but lowe of stature, their eie-browes, haire, apparell, and manner of wearing, like the men, fat, and very well favoured, and much delighted in our companie. "

And likewise writes jovial "John Josselyn, Gentleman," "The men are somewhat horsefac'd, and generally faucious-i. e., without beards: but the women, many of them, have very good features; sel­dome without come-to-mee, or cos amoris, in their countenance; all of them black-eyed; having even, short teeth, and very white; their, hair black, thick, and long; broad brested: handsome, straight bodies, and slender, considering their constant loose habit; their limbs cleanly, straight, and of a convenient stature, -generally as plump as part­ridges; and, saving here and there one, of a modest deportment."

William Wood approaches the subject of universal interest diplo­matically thus: "To satisfie the curious eye of women-readers, who otherwise might thinke their sexe forgotten, or not worthy a record, let them peruse these few lines, wherein they may see their owne happi­nesse, if weighed in the womans balance of these ruder Indians, who scorne the tuterings of their wives, or to admit them as their equals, though their qualities and industrious deservings may justly claime the preheminence, and command better usage and more conjugall esteeme,

 

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their persons and features being every way correspondent, their quali­fication were more excellent, being more loving, pittifull, and modest, milde, provident, and laborious then their lazie husbands."

It is the woman who does the camp work and tends the fields. So improvident is the male that she must even hide the corn crop from her master's inquisitive gaze, else he would eat the seed reserved for future crops, if he but knew where to find it. The Indians would raise large crops of corn and sell it to the English with an eye so little to the future that ere another crop could be harvested, they would be obliged to buy it back at much higher rates.

The male was accomplished only in fishing, eating, and sleeping. When he designed to fish, in order that it might not smack of labor, but be classed as a purely athletic pastime, his wife needs must trudge along and bait his hooks; and be the weather hot or cold, waters calm or rough, she must dive "sometimes over head and eares for a Lobster," which often shook her hands with a "churlish nippe" and bid her "adiew." A husband having caught fish at sea, will bring it as far as he can by water, whereupon the wife must fetch it home by land.

"These womens modesty drives them to weare more cloathes than their men, having alwayes a coate of cloath or skinnes wrapt like a blanket about their loynes, reaching downe to their hammes which they never put off in company. If a husband has a minde to sell his wives Beaver, petticote, as sometimes he doth, shee will not put it off until she have another to put on." It is doubtful if a garment was worn before the advent of the European. It was customary for both sexes to wear the beech-clout only, indoors, and in early days it was not uncommon dress for both sexes out of doors.

The discontent of the Indian women became great after the arrival of the English for seeing the kind usage of the English to their wives. The native women much condemned their husbands for their compara­tively hard lot and would "commend the English for their love" for their women, while the Indian husband, on the other hand, commended himself for his wit in keeping his wife industrious and did much con­demn "the English for their folly in spoyling good working creatures." When the Indians see "any of the English women sewing with their needles, or working coifes, or such things, they will cry out, Lazie squaes! I but they are much the kinder to their wives, by the example of the English," we are told.

In domestic life the Indian took many wives and put away wives

 

49

 

frequently upon occasions other than adultery and wives left husbands upon grounds of displeasure or dissatisfaction: In the words of an early bard:

each one is granted leave,

A wife or two, or more, for to receive.

The Rev. Thomas Shepard, described in a foreword to an early tract as "a minister of Christ in New England, so eminently godly and faithfull, that what he here reports, as an eye or an eare witnesse is not to be questioned," recites the instance of an Indian who propounded the question which of two wives he should put away upon his adoption of the Englishman's moral code. He informs that his first was "barren and childlesse, the second fruitfull and bearing him many sweet children . . .. if hee puts away the first who hath no children, then hee puts away her whom God and Religion undoubtedly binds him unto, there being no other defect but want of children; if he puts away the other, then he must cast off all his children with her also as illegitimate, whom he so exceedingly loves." It is not known how the ingenuity of the Puritan mind met this puzzling query in ethics and religion.

Roger Williams attributes the multiplicity of wives to two causes, first the desire of riches because of the fact that the women did all the farm work and second their long "sequestring themselves from their wives after conception, until the child be weaned, which with some is long after a yeare old." The same authority adds, however, a knowl­edge of many couples having lived together twenty, thirty, and forty years.

Revenge was a cardinal attribute of the Indians, they being not "unmindful of taking vengeance upon such as have injured them or their kindred, when they have opportunity, though it be a long time after the offence was committed."

They were much given to lying and "speaking untruths" and stealing, especially from the English, who had something to steal.

In personal sanitation, they were lax. "Tame Cattle they have none," chortles Josselyn, "excepting Lice, and Doggs of a wild breed," Hutchinson, the famous governor of Massachusetts, writes, "I have seen a great half naked Indian sitting at a small distance from the governors and commissioners of several of the colonies, in the midst of a conference, picking lice from his body for half an hour together, and cracking them between his teeth," One of the first laws made by

 

50

 

 

the Christian Indians laid a penalty of one cent upon each louse cracked by an Indian with his teeth. Le Jeune, the Jesuit, tells us that the Iroquois ate the fleas and lice with which they were infested, not for any food value the vermin might contain, but in a spirit of revenge for the annoyance the insects had occasioned them.

The Indian did not bathe. Instead he annointed his body with oil. Says Hutchinson, "More dirty, foul and sordid than swine, being never so clean and sweet as when they were well greased." But we are assured by another observer that the use of oil on the body was their best antidote against the "Musketoes" and stopped the pores of their bodies against the nipping winter's cold.

A naturally improvident people, the Indians were greatly given to gambling, and were willing to play away all they had, says Gookin with the restraint of a Puritan speaking of sin. But the livelier Wood ventures greater detail. Admiringly write he: "And whereas it is the custome of many people in their games, if they see the dice runne crosse or their cards not answere their expectations: what cursing and swear­ing, what imprecations, and raylings, fightings and stabbings oftentimes proceede from their testy spleene. How doe their blustering passions, make the place troublesome to themselves and others? But I have knowne when foure of these milder spirits have sit downe staking their treasures, where they have plaied foure and twentie hours, neither eating drinking or sleeping in the Interim; nay which is most to be wondered at, not quarreling, but as they came thither in peace so they depart in peace; when he that had lost all his wampompeage, his house, his kettle, his beaver, his hatchet, his knife, yea all his little all, having nothing left but his naked selfe, was as merry as they that won it."

Continues Gookin: "And also they delight much in their dancings and revellings; at which time he that danceth (for they dance singly, the men, and not the women, the rest singing, which is their chief musick) will give away in his frolick, all that ever he hath, gradually, some to one, and some to another, according to his fancy and affection. And then, when he hath stripped himself of all he hath, and is weary, another succeeds and doth the like: so successively one after another, night after night, resting and sleeping in the days; and so continue sometimes a week together."

The Indian has been pictured as a mighty warrior and a great hunter. But the attributes of stealth and cunning, rather than physical courage, underlaid both callings. As a soldier the Indian was subject

 

 

51

 

to no particular discipline. In an unorganized manner he stole upon his enemy when his presence was unsuspected and massacred until the tide of battle had turned, or his lust for blood was satiated, whereupon he would melt into the forest as silently as he had come.

His hunting before the advent of the musket constituted attempts to lure deer and other wild animals into pitfalls. He would build miles of fencing so arranged as to narrow at one end, where his trapped prey, caught in a net or pit, was slaughtered by his captor with all the picturesqueness of a butcher in the slaughter-house. He would kill a moose by running him nigh to exhaustion in the deep snow, whereupon he would stab him to death with a short spear.

Stoicism is a popularly believed Indian trait that seems to stand the test of contemporary research. Ordinarily no braver than the white man, the Indian was more unflinching in pain. Roger Williams tells us that the toothache was the only pain that would force their stout hearts to cry.

The missionary in various parts of the world has been ridiculed for his attempt to clothe the naked savage, the result not meeting with the approval of aesthetic eyes on account of combinations affected. It is not known that any great attempt was made to force European gar­ments upon the Indian. The Indian was attracted by the novel apparel of the English and in time sought to wear much of it of his own accord. In the use of European clothes he did not subject himself to the vascil­lating dictates of fashion. So strange were they to him and so happy was he in his new possessions that in a rain he is known to have stripped them off in order to keep them dry while he exposed his skin to the elements.

Before the coming of the settlers the Indian costume was simple because his limited mentality had conceived nothing better, not because he had ideas concerning the healthful qualities of a skin exposed to nature.

The male wore "a paire of Indian Breeches to cover that which modesty commands to be hid, which is but a peece of cloth a yard and a halfe long, put between their gronings tied with a snakes skinne about their middles, one end hanging downe with a flap before, the other like a taile behind." In the winter time the more aged of them wore drawers "in forme like Irish trouses" and shoes cut out of hide. In winter most of them carried a "deepe furr'd Cat skinne, like a long

 

52

 

large muffe," which they shifted to that arm that lay most exposed to the wind.

Thus clad the Indian bustled "better through a world of cold in frost-paved wildernesse, than the furred Citizen" in a warmer climate. They like not to be imprisoned in our English fashion, thinks Wood, "they love their owne dogge-fashion better (of shaking their eares, and being ready in a moment) than to spend time in dressing them, though they may as well spare it as any men I know, having little else to doe."

What the Indian lacked in costume he remedied by painting or tat­tooing his body. The heraldry of the Indian was emblazoned upon his body. The "better sort" are described as bearing upon their cheeks portraitures of bears, deer, moose, wolves, and fowls such as the eagle and hawk. Others have round impressions down the outside of their arms and breasts in form of mullets or spur-rowels.

One early writer reproves the squaws for use of that "sinful art of painting their Faces." The women were especially addicted to this practice and the men also, says Gookin, especially when marching to their wars, making themselves thereby as they conceived more terrible to their enemies. The face might be daubed a bright vermillion or painted a black and white, one part of the face one color and the other another, "very deformedly."

The young men and soldiers wore their hair long on the one side, "the other side being cut short like a screw; other cuts they have as their fancie befooles them, which would torture the wits of a curious Barber to imitate."

A great sagamore with a humming bird in his ear for a pendant, a black hawk on his occiput for his plume, "Mowhackees" for his gold chain, good store of wampum begirthing his loins, his bow in his hands, his quiver at his back, with six naked Indian "spatter lashes at his heeles for his guard" thinks himself little inferior to the great khan; "hee is all one with King Charles. He thinkes hee can blow downe Castles with his breath, and conquer kingdomes with his conceit." In this state he can see no equal, till comes the dawn of a night of adverse gam­ing, during which he is robbed of his conceited wealth and left with nothing till a new taxation of his subjects furnishes him with a fresh supply.

The Indian diet was not noted for any balance of food values, nor did its preparation involve any of the finer subtleties of the culinary

 

53

THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

 

art, although one authority is informed by his readings that the Indians to the south "would not eat a Spaniard till they had kept him two or three dayes tender, because their flesh was bad."

In England, observes a writer, the Indians eat little, whether "it be to shew their manners, or for shamefastnesse, I know not; but at home they will eate till their bellies stand forth, ready to split with fullness." Their table conduct is described "as all are fellows at foot­ball, so they all meete friends at the kettle, saving their wives, that dance a Spaniell-like attendance at their backes for their bony fragments."

The peculiarities of a people are often expressed in burial cere­monies. When the life of an Indian had expired, those about the corpse would break into throbbing sobs and deep fetched sighs, "their griefe-wrung hands, and teare-bedewed cheekes, their dolefull cries, would draw teares from Adamantine eyes, that be but spectators of their mournefull Obsequies." The "glut" of their griefe being past, they commit the corpse of the deceased to the ground, "over whose grave is for a long time spent many a briny teare, deepe groane, and Irish-like howlings."

The mourners knew nothing of rings and scarves or other niceties of the seventeenth century civilization, or of the Prince Albert coat of a later day. Instead, on their faces, they wore a "black stiffe paint."

The missionary Experience Mayhew speaks of black faces, goods buried, and the howlings over the dead of Indian burials.

Mention has been made of a number of Indian traits and practices, some of them bad, others ridiculous to the modern reader, just as char­acteristics of our own ancestors in various ages appear preposterous in the light of evolution, and as our present civilization will appear tomorrow.

Of good qualities the Algonquin had a share. Yet even these were of times the results of his improvident nature. With equanimity he gambled away his worldly wealth, for his wealth was little and easily replenished. Yet it was a virtue that he was ready to communicate his wealth to the mutual good of another: "he that kills a Deere, sends for his friends and eates it merrily: So he that receives but a piece of bread from an English hand, parts its equally betweene himselfe and his comrades, and eates it lovingly." He was as willing to part with his mite in poverty as his treasure in plenty. The thrifty Puritan settler

 

54

 

must have viewed the improvidence of the Indian and his neglect of the future as something well-nigh irreligious.

Credit is accorded the American Indian that the women of the English had little to fear of sex relations. Perhaps unkindly it was, the explanation of one contemporary that the English women had nothing to fear on this score as the Indian had his choice among his own women.

The story is told of the capture of three white women by members of the Pequot tribe. One of the women, fearing the consequences of her predicament, bit and scratched her captor so heartily that in retaliation he slew her with a blow from his tomahawk. The other two women were carried into camp, where the Indians offered their persons no abuse, but questioned them as to whether they could make gun­powder, a commodity greatly desired by them and only illegally pur­chased from the whites. Finding that their captives were not versed in the art any more than their own squaws, and convinced, says the narrator, that they would fall abundantly short in industry compared with the native women, and being of little attraction physically, as the Indian esteemed "black beyond any color," the English women were released.

The besetting sin of the Indian was drunkenness. Before drunken­ness was introduced among them, "Nothing unclean or filthy, like the heathen's feasts of Bacchus and Venus, was ever heard of amongst any of them."

Prior to the advent of the white man, the Indian drank nothing but water. This was not because he was a sober individual, but because of the pertinent fact that he had no drink that would intoxicate. He had never stumbled upon the receipe of an intoxicating liquor. A peo­ple who did not know how to boil food was not likely to distill spirits. After the arrival of the Europeans some few of the Indians, who were ordinarily not enterprising, planted orchards and made cider. Many of the Indians became lovers of strong drink, aqua vitae, rum, brandy, and the like, and were greedy to buy it of the English.

The sale of liquor to Indians was strictly prohibited in the Massa­chusetts Colony, but there existed those among the Europeans who were willing to sell what the Indian greatly demanded. Bootlegging became a profession early in American life. And the Indian with his rugged love of freedom, demanded the right to exercise his personal liberties even unto extinction, which was what nearly happened.

 

 

55

 

 

Although whipped for drunkenness, the Indian would seldom report the source of his supply,

In the words of Gookin, the Europeans, "especially the English in New-England, have cause to be greatly humbled before God, that they have been, and are, instrumental to cause the Indians to commit this great evil and beastly sin of drunkenness."

The Indian was a creature of passion and self-indulgence. But these traits alone do not account for his whole-hearted submission to the evils of over-indulgence in drink. The Indian nature was tinged with melan­choly. He lived in constant dread of bewitchment. He saw evil spirits abont him in every stick and stone. A prey to mental fears, he suffered from causes over which he had no control. A drought, a thunder, a comet, everything in nature typified the wrath of an angry god. The Indian was afraid. He sought solace in the burning liquor that made him forget for a time the shadow that hovered in his mind.

The Indian was heavily endowed with arrogance, self-esteem, and lordly pride. A manifestation of these attributes was the dignity inher­ent in him. His pride was quickly wounded and his suspicions easily aroused. A trader who chanced to smile in the course of a barter with an Indian was sure to lose his deal.

The Indian was a great orator. In unstudied eloquence he has at times rivaled the lofty flights of the Greeks and Romans. Red Jacket was declared by Governor Clinton to be the equal of Demosthenes. Jefferson called the best known speech of Logan, the Mingo chief, the height of human utterance, but the full originality of this speech is rightfully questioned.

The aborigine's poetic eloquence and love of mysticism adapted him to the white man's religion, and those who became its converts have filled the pages of missionary lore with speeches surprising to the ear of one not versed in its history. In prayer he is said to have exceeded the expectations of Eliot. Matthew Mayhew tells of a speech by a pow-wow heard by a kinsman who said had it been to the true God, it exceeded any prayer he had ever heard.

But with the weakness of orators, the speech of the Indian was verbose and prolix. His recitations upon occasion became so tediously minute that even the long suffering Eliot was obliged to cut him short.

It is an antithesis of character that although an orator, the Indian was not talkative. Out of the circle of council he spoke seldom and then with much gravity.

 

56

 

The religion of the American Indian was a primitive psychology. Polytheistic in nature, it was untempered by philosophy. Before the Advent of the European the Indian had not attained the spiritual level that perceives god as a moral preceptor. His gods were mere dis­pensers of good and evil fortune, more often evil. Not to suffer the linger of a god, was to be happy. The joy of moral exaltation was to him unknown.

The various tribes worshipped different gods, the sun, moon, earth, or fire, "and like vanities." Yet generally, says Gookin, the Indian acknowledged one supreme doer of good and another that was the great doer of mischief. The god of evil they dreaded and feared more than they honored and loved the god of good.

A knowledge of the religion of the Indians on the Vineyard has been preserved in the writings of the younger Thomas Mayhew. Upon his coming among them, writes he, "they were mighty zealous and earnest in the Worship of False gods and Devils; their False gods were many, both of things in Heaven, Earth, and Sea: And they had their Men-gods, Women-gods, and Children-gods, their Companies, and Fellowships of gods, or Divine Powers, guiding things amongst men, besides innumerable more feigned gods belonging to many Creatures, to their Corn and every Colour of it." These lesser gods Roger Wil­liams compares in principle to the St. George, St. Paul, St. Dennis, and the Virgin Mary and similar "saint protectors" of the Roman Catholic faith.

"The Devil also with his Angels," continues the younger Mayhew, "had his Kingdom among them, in them; account him they did the terror of the Living, the god of the Dead, under whose cruel power and into whose deformed likeness they conceived themselves to be translated when they died; for the same word they have for Devil, they use also for Dead Man, in their Language: by him they were often hurt in their Bodies, distracted in their Minds, wherefore they had many meetings with their Pawwaws (who usually had a hand in their hurt) to pacifie the Devil by their sacrifice and get deliverance from their evil." They had, continues the writer, "'only an obscure Notion of a god greater than all, which they call Manit, but they know not what he was, and therefore had no way to worship him."

Josselyn well expresses the Indian knowledge of immortality with the statement that they have "some small light" of the soul's immor­

 

57

 

tality, "for ask them whither they go when they dye, they will tell you pointing with their finger to Heaven beyond the white mountains."

The concept of the Great Spirit is largely a manifestation of the white man. Romance and tradition has painted an august conception of an Indian deity, a great spirit, omniscient and omnipresent, which has deceived many a reader into believing that the Indian possessed a high type of religion. We are called upon to admire, says Parkman, in the untutored intellect of the Indian, a thought too vast for Socrates and Plato.

Thomas Cooper, a half-blooded Gay Head Indian, born about 1725, once gave a description of the Indian form of worship at Mar­tha's Vineyard. "Whenever the Indians worshipped," said he, "they always sang and danced, and then begged of the sun and moon, as they thought most likely to hear them, to send them the desired favor; most generally rain or fair weather, or freedom from their enemies or sick­ness." The Dancing Field at Christiantown was one of the places of congregation for such ceremonies.

The Indian priests were called Pow-wows, famed to later genera­tions of Americans as medicine men. These exercised a potent influence in all the phases of life, religion, peace, war, and health. As an institution the pow-wows were the most picturesque feature of the red man's life. They maintained a strange and powerful influence over their superstitious fellow-tribesmen.

Betaking themselves to exorcism and necromatic charms, they were credited with bringing to pass many strange things. One is reported to have made water burn, rocks move, and trees dance. Not only were strange stories of the sorceries of the pow-wows confidently confirmed by Indians, but examples of their powers are seriously recounted in

print by educated Englishmen whose reputations for veracity stand unimpeached. It is probable that a number of the pow-wows had stumbled upon certain elemental truths of chemistry and physics. It was fear of the pow-wows that the early missionaries were obliged to break rather than the power of sachems and sagamores.

The pow-wows professed the possession of imps through which they were able to perform their miracles. Says the younger Thomas Mayhew, "The Pawwaws counted their Imps their Preservers, had them treasured up in their bodies, which they brought forth to hurt their enemies, and heal their friends; who when they had done some notable Cure, would shew the Imp in the palm of his Hand to the

 

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Indians who with much amazement looking on it, Deified them, then at all times seeking to them for cure in all sicknesses, and counsel in all cases.

The pow-wows exercised their craft both by bodily hurt and by "Inward pain, torture, and distraction of mind." Their greatest influence was psychological. The superstitious Indian so lived in fear of the pow-wow's power that once told by a pow-wow that he was bewitched he would begin to suffer the most terrible mental pains and bodily symptoms. In this way account may be made for paralysis, Illness, and other impotencies inflicted by the pow-wows.

To eflect their purposes the powwows were wont to use a bone, which was sometimes shot into the Indian, so they claimed, by a serpent coming directly towards the victimized man in the house or in the field, looming a shadow about him like a man. Matthew Mayhew adds that they oft formed a piece of leather like an arrow-head, tying a hair thereto, or using the bone of a fish, over which they performed, certain ceremonies, to let the bewitched know his fate. The terrified victim, seeing the sign, would become seized with fears and distrac­tions, convinced that in time the bone and hair would enter his body and begin its work of bewitchment.

Another method employed by the powwows was to pretend to seize something of the spirit of the one they intended to torment while it wandered in the victim's sleep, which spirit they would represent to keep in the form of an imprisoned fly, and accordingly as they dealt with the fty, so fared the body it belonged to. The power of a pow-wow over a victim whose spirit he kept in such close captivity need be no more than hinted.

The pow-wows, being able to create harm and disease, were also able to cure such evils. This they accomplished with "horrible outcries, hollow bleatings, painful wrestlings," and smitings of their bodies, and similar antics so extreme that Governor Winslow described them as combining the attributes of physician, priest, and juggler. They would make extraordinary motions with their bodies for so long a time that they would sweat until they foamed, continuing thus for hours stroking and hovering over the sick until cured or beyond repair. The pow-wows made use also of herbs and roots which they sometimes applied externally, combining medicine with psychology and witchcraft. They were known upon occasion to set bones.

 

59The ritual of a seance has been described in the following language:

The parties that are sick or lame being brought before them, the Pow-wow sitting downe, the rest of the Indians giving attentive audience to his imprecations and invocations, and after the violent expres­sion of many a hideous bellowing and groaning, he makes a stop, and then all the auditors with one voice utter a short Canto; which done the Pow-wow still proceeds in his invocations, sometimes roaring like a Beare, other times groaning like a dying horse, foaming at the mouth like a chased bore, smiting on his naked breast and thighs with such violence, as if he were madde. Thus will hee continue sometimes halfe a day, spending his lungs, sweating out his fat, and tormenting his body in this diabolical worship; sometimes the Devill for requital of their worship, recovers the partie to nuzzle them up in their divellish Religion.

Such was the religion of the American Indian. Peter Oliver, antagonistic to the Puritans and all their works, with a spleen so far developed as to enable him to attack the missionary activities of John Eliot, well expresses the popular misconception of the Indian religion. Writes he of the red man. "His very religion, though incomplete, was gentle and harmonious. It was the religion of Nature. He saw the Great Spirit in all his glorious works, and they furnished him with an adequate ritual. And he, too, could find language in which to express his adoration of the mysterious God; not invisible, for had he not expressed himself in flowers, in streams of running water, in the light­ning and the tempest? He could Worship and praise as well as his white brothers, for the voice of nature sounded fresh in his ears, and he echoed her truths in strains of glorious eloquence."

In similar outbursts of eloquence is the Indian religion rarified by the imaginative white man, Only a joyous Cooperite could metamorphize the terrible howlings of the pow-wow and his uncouth gestures into paeans of "glorious eloquence," and call the indescribable mental anguish of bewitched Indians a "gentle and harmonious" religion, The Indians did not worship nature, They feared nature.

Much has been written of what the white man may learn from the Indian. But sober investigation renders it doubtful if there are many attributes found in the better class of redskins that the better class of Caucasians do not possess. There is too great a tendency to compare the best of primitive people with the dregs of the white race in picturing the nobility of the aborigine.

 

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Talk is made of the Indian's good sense in the way of simple living mastery of the outdoors, But the truth is the Indian ate to excess when his larder was full and lived in starvation when it was depleted,

The healthful virtues of wigwam life, apparent at first blush, fade upon dreaded thought. Life in a foul, smoke-laden wigwam, where the occupants breathed over and again the stench of human bodies crowded in small areas, coupled with the sudden shock of a body thrust from such an atmosphere into the chilling winds of a New England winter, vitiated the constitution of the Indian and made him a victim of plague and a prey to consumption.

It is said with unction that through the Boy Scout and Camp Fire Girl movements the young people of today are learning the wisdom of the first American and emulating his noble qualities. That these great movements are affording the youth and girlhood of today an immeasurable benefit no thinking person denies, but it is a sad commentary on the accuracy of romantic thought that Camp Fire Girls should be hailed upon to adopt Indian names in their struggle to make life a thing of beauty, happiness, and romance, when it is recalled that the Indian woman was so pitifully the slave and inferior of her lordly master, good only to bear countless children and to perform menial tasks. The pioneer mothers in nameless millions from Copps Hill Cemetery in Boston to obscure mounds in the Rocky Mountains must turn in their graves.

Longfellow sang the song of Hiawatha, the picture of an "extinct tribe that never lived." Scholarly, urbane, he penned only the beautiful in life for the benefit of the Victorian public, He avoided the shadows of reality. He lived in a famed old mansion in Cambridge and taught in the classic halls of Harvard, He was the epitome of all that made conservative New England culture in the nineteenth century. Had Longfellow spent a night with Wood in an Indian wigwam or sat by the side of Governor Hutchinson, of Massachusetts while a brave buck sat cracking lice with his teeth, the world would have lost Hiawatha.

 

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CHAPTER VII

 

THE COLONIST

 

The first settlement effected by Thomas Mayhew within bounds of this patent was established in 1642 at Great Harbor,

Edgartown, on the island of Martha's Vineyard, by a small band of planters under the leadership of Thomas Mayhew, Jr. As the , elder Mayhew did not settle permanently on the island until after the lapse of a number of years, the son acted as the plantation's governor until the arrival of the senior patentee.

The beginnings of the history of Great Harbor date back meeting in the parent settlement of Watertown when the two men granted unto five of their neighbors a patent for the establishment of a "large Towne" upon the Vineyard with equal power in town government.

The grant effected the formation of a town proprietary. The proprietary played a vital part in the colonization of New England was its distinctive social and economic feature for many years.  The term proprietary is used in American history in two senses. The one use refers to the great proprietors or lords who held territorial grants as feudal seigneurs and who were endowed with governmental powers. The other has reference to town proprietaries; groups of men who held title to lands in common ownership for the founding towns.

In the settlement of a town it was the practice of the proprietor to first parcel out home lots to the inhabitants of the new settlement and to set off public tracts, such as a lot for the use and support of the town's future ministers, a plot for a burying ground, and often a commons. After the general plan of the township had been laid, with home lots, streets, paths, and burying ground, it was custom for the proprietors to divide up parts of the remaining lands into farms with convenient allotments of plough lands, meadows, and similar tracts, useful for various purposes. Usually these several divisions lay

 

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CHAPTER X

 

THE FOREST PAUL-(PART II)

 

The Rev. Thomas Mayhew was quick to improve the advantage offered by the downfall of the powwows. He increased his ministrations  sparing neither health nor fatigue as he traveled many times about  the island by foot to preach at various Indian villages.

In smoky wigwams at night, by the flickering light of a tent fire, he would relate to a throng of primitive children the ancient stories of the Bible; the birth of Christ in a manger in far off Bethlehem, the ascent to the mount of Calvary, the sacrifice that purged man of his sins and gave him everlasting life.

And the Indians listened in wonder, and only when the night was far gone and the fire had burned itself into bright red bits of log and smoldering timber, and the cold, damp air of morning had pressed in upon their consciousness, would the assembly break up; the listeners in little knots stealing forth in the darkness to their hovels, speaking to each other in lowered voices of the white man's God and the amaz­ing tales they had heard.

The labors of Thomas Mayhew, Jr., on the Vineyard and John 1.:liot on the continent now began to attract the attention of persons of wealth in England, who were encouraged to advance money for the  propagation of the gospel among the Indians. Interest abroad had been aroused by letters written by the missionaries describing the nature and progress of their work. The first letter written by May­hew was dated November 18, 1647, and was published in London in ,649, in a tract entitled "Glorious Progress of the Gospel”.

Matthew Mayhew refers to this quickening of English philan­thropy: "Thus Mr. Mayhew continu'd his almost inexpressible labour and viligant care for the good of the Indians, whom he justly esteemed his joy and crown: and having seen so great a blessing on his faithful endeavours in the making known tbe name of his Lord among these Gentiles, with indefatigable pains, expecting no reward but alone from him, who said, go teach all nations: lo, I am with you: God moved the

 

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hearts of some godly Christians in England to advance a considerable sum for encouraging the propagating and preaching the gospel to tho Indians of New England."

At first these contributions were individual in character, but "' reports continued to show satisfactory results, the patrons of the work decided that it would be wiser to unite their efforts and so there wa. passed by the Long Parliament, July 27, 1649, an act establishing a corporation for the propagation of the gospel in New England, consist. ing of a president, treasurer, and fourteen assistants, called "the Presi. dent and Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in New England."

By direction of Oliver Cromwell a general fund amounting to thousands of pounds was raised throughout England and Wales for the benefit of this corporation, and invested in real estate. The corpora. tion had the distinction of being the only Protestant missionary society in the world.

                Supervision of the society's work in New England was intrusted to

the Commissioners of the United Colonies, who agreed to act as local agents for the corporation in the management of its affairs and in the distribution of its funds.

The work of Thomas Mayhew, Jr., came under the patronage of this society some time before 1654, largely through the intervention of the Rev. Henry Whitfield.

About the end of the summer of 165° this gentleman, who was pastor of the church at Guilford, Connecticut, while on a voyage to Boston in order to take passage to England, was obliged to put in at the Vineyard, by reason of contrary winds. "There he tells us he found a small Plantation, and an English Church gathered, whereof this Mr. Mayhew was Pastor; that he had attained a good Under­standing in the Indian Tongue, could speak it well, and had laid the first Foundations of the Knowledge of CHRIST among the Natives there, by preaching, &c."

Mr, Whitfield spent ten days on the island. His writings preserve an excellent account of Thomas Mayhew's mission. He spoke with Hiacoomes, Mr. Mayhew acting as interpreter, unto all of which Hia­coomes gave him "a very good satisfactory and Christian answer." He attended the young missionary to a private Indian meeting where one young Indian, he reporrs, prayed a quarter of an hour, and the next day to the Indian lecture, where Thomas Mayhew, Jr., preached and

 

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thcn catechized the Indian children, who answered "readily and mod­.,tly in the Principles of Religion; some of them answered in the 1':lIglish and some ill the Indian tongue."

Says Whitfield:

                Thus having seen a short model of his way, and of the paines he

IlIok, I made some inquiry about Mr. Mahu himself, and about his 'llbsistance, because I saw but small and slender appearance of outward ['onveniences of life, in any comfortable way; the man himself was lIIodest, and I could get but little from him; but after, I understood from others how short things went with him, and how he was many limes forced to labour with his own hands, havinll a wife and three "nail children which depended upon him, to provIde necessaries for Ihem; having not halfe so much yeerly coming in, in a settled way, as "n ordinary labourer gets there amongst them. Yet he is chearfull "midst these straits, and none hear him to complain. The truth is, he will not leave the work, in which his heart is engaged; for upon my knowledge, if he would have left the work, and imployed himself IItherwhece, he might have had a more competent and comfortable maintenance.

So labored Thomas Mayhew, Jr., co-proprietary of sixteen islands, and son of an English governoc. He could easily have overcome his slender subsistence had he directed his talents to the buying and selling and farming of great tracts of land. But had he doue so his name would not today be reverenced. He would have been only another large planter or prosperous business man, honored in life and unsung in death.

He had been in correspondence abroad for a number of years, yet his modesty forbade his mentioning his own circumstances. Thus it was that the English merchants who had been so liberal with money for the Indians had oveclooked the missionary who was plowing in the Vineyard of God and who had established the first English mission to the Indians of America.

Thomas Mayhew, Jr., knew not the slogan "it pays to advertise." He made no effort to "educate" the public in what .he was doing. He did not spend thousands of dollars in advertising before he had con­verted a single Indian. He had no chest, no campaign manager, no staff of two-minute speakers dignified with military rank-colonels,

 

 

During the "day of the roIon;", at Roanoke in Virgniaa, Thoma, Heriot, the ,den­ti,t and phHosopher, p,opounded Ihe Bible 10 the Ind;""" Manteo;n 1587 and later Poailiont.. be"me Chdstian" A pennanent mi"ion appe"" not to have been oondu,ted,

 

 

 

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majors, and captains-he held no luncheons, but he did convert Indians, which was his goal, and for which task he conserved all his talents and energy.

His methods were not businesslike, they lacked organization, but they were lovable. They can be appreciated even by gentlemen dedi­cated to tbe task of picturing Jesus Christ as a salesman "selling" Christianity, or George Washington as America's great realtor because he bought and sold land on a large scale.

We shall make no effort to popularize Thomas Mayhew, Jr., as an American business man, hecause he was not. He suffered financially as a consequence, yet in time his merits came to be known. The Apostle Eliot heard of him and encouraged him to continue his work notwith. standing its many discouragements. He wrote to England mentioning the Vineyard clergyman as a young beginner who was in extreme want of books, and begged aid for him. It was hooks that Eliot thought the missionary was in need of, for he knew nothing of his financial straits. It remained for Whitfield to ferret out the facts.

In the year that Whitfield published his book, "The Light Appear. ing," the commissioners of the United Colonies wrote Mayhew as fol. lows, evidently upon orders of the society in England:

NEW-HAVEN Sep: 12: 16SI.

SIR :-We have heard of the blessing God hath bestowed on youer labours in the Gospel amongst the poore Indians and desire with tlhank. fulness to take notice of the same, and from the appearance of these first fruits to bee stirred up to seeke unto and waite upon the lord of the harvist that hee would send more labourers with the former and latter showers of his sperit that good corn may abundantly Spring up and this barren Wildernes become a feutfull feild yea the garden of God: and that wee might not bee wanting in the trust commit­ted to us for the furtherance and incoragement of this work wee thought good to let you understand ther is paid by the Corporacon in London £30 for part of Mr Gennors librarye and as they informe us a Catalogue of the bookes sent over (which is for youer encorage­ment). Wee hope you have Received of els desire yOll would looke after them from Mr. Eliott, or any other that may have them: or if ther bee any eror wee desire to heare itt: there are some houes and hatchett, sent over for the Indians encorragement of which youer Indians may have pt if you think meet, and bee pleased to give them a note to Mr Rawson of Boston of what shalbe needful for their use, especially those that may bee most willing to laboure: wee alsoe are

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informed there is an £100 given by some of Exeter towards this worke of which some pt to youer selfe, but know not the quantitie: wee should bee glad to heare how the work of God goes on amongst them

with you that soe wee might enforme the Corporation in England, and

have our harts more inlarged to God for them, soe with our best Respects wee Rest

As far as can now be ascertained, this was the first remuneration received by Thomas Mayhew, Jr., in the eight years of his service as an Indian missionary. It had taken the English philanthropists and the commissioners of the United Colonies a long time to discover the unassuming missionary on the lonely island.

Prospects were now brighter for the successful maintenance of the mission than ever before. In a letter addressed to Whitfield, dated "Great Harbour, uppon the Vineyard, October 16th, 1651," the mis­sionary describes the progress of his work at this time:

And now through the mercy of God [writes he] there are an hun­dred and ninetie nine men women and children that have professed themselves to be worshippers of the great and ever living God. There are now two meetings kept every Lord's day, the one three miles, the other about eight miles oII my house Hiacoomes teacheth twice a day at the nearest and Mumanequem accordingly at the farthest; the last day of the week they come unto me to be informed touching the sub­ject they are to handle.

This winter I intend, if the Lord will, to set up a school to teach the Indians to read, viz. the children, and also any young men that are willing to learne.

Shortly after the departure of Mr. Whitfield from the island there happened a thing "which amazed the whole island" and which greatly accelerated the progress of the new religion. At a public meeting of converts two powwows came forward and asked the privilege of join­ing in membership with the Praying Indians that they might "travel in the ways of that God whose name is Jehovah." They revealed and denounced the "diabolical mysteries" of their craft, and professing repentance, entreated God to have mercy on them for their sins and to teach them His way.

One of them confessed that "at first he came to be a Pawwaw by Diabolical Dreams, wherein he saw the Devill in the likenesse of four living Creatures; one was like a man which he saw in the Ayre, and this told him that he did know all things upon the Island, and what was

 

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to be done; and this he said had its residence over his whole body. Another was like a Crow, and did look out sharply to discover mis­chiefs coming towards him, and had its residence in his head. The third was like to a Pidgeon, and had its place in his breast, and was very cunning about any businesse. The fourth was like a Serpent, very sub­tile to doe mischiefe, and also to doe great cures, and these he said were meer Devils, and such as he had trusted to for safety, and did labour to rise up for the accomplishment of any thing in his diabolicall craft, but now he saith, that he did desire that the Lord would free him from them, and that he did repent in his heart, because of his sin.

"The other said his Conscience was much troubled for his sin, and they both desired the Lord would teach them his wayes, have mercy upon them, and pardon their sins, for Jesus Christ his sake."

It was "a great occasion of praising the Lord," concludes Mayhew, "to see these poor naked sons of Adam, and slaves to the Devil from their birth, to come toward the Lord as they did, with their joynts shaking, and their bowels trembling, their spirits troubled, and their voices with much fervency, uttering words of sore displeasure against sin and Satan, which they had imbraced from their Childhood with so much delight; accounting it also now their sin that they had not the knowledge of God," and that they had served the devil, the great enemy of both God and man, and had been so hurtful in their lives;

and yet being very thankful that, through the mercy of God, "they had an opportunity to be delivered out of that dangerous condition."

                Weare told that the Praying Indians greatly rejoiced at this turn

of events, which indeed presaged a new era.

A convert about this time was Tequanonim, who was reputed "very notorious." That he should forsake his old ways, his friends, and his lucrative employment to follow the Christian faith was no small thing.

He admitted that before his conversion he had been possessed "from the crowne of the head to the soal of the foot" with Pawwaw­nomas, or imps, not only in the shape of living creatures, as fowls, fishes, and creeping things, but brass, iron, and stone. His faith in the efficacy of these things, living and inanimate, had been shaken by two things; first, conversations he had held with Thomas Mayhew, Sr., who had taken occasion to discourse with him about the way of true happiness; and second, the fact that when his squaw was ill, the more he powwowed her, the sicker she became. He agreed that "since the

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Word of God hath been taught unto them in this place, the Pawwaw.5 have been much foiled in their devillish tasks, and that instead of cur­ing have rather killed many."

Following the conversion of Tequanonim there came pressing in  at one lecture about fifty Indian converts. The missionary observed that the Indians generally came in families, the parents bringing their children with them, saying; "I have brought my children, too; I would have my children serve God with us; I desire that this son and this daughter may worship Jehovah." And if they were old enough to ,peak, their parents would have them say something to show their  willingness to serve the Lord.

The new religion now became so popular that it is reported that a spy, sent by one of the powerful powwows of the island to the Indian lecture to report to him what went on among the Praying Indians, became a convert.

The first death among the "meeting Indians," as Thomas May­hew, Jr., was accustomed to call them, took away a child of Hiacoomes, about nine days old. Hiacoomes, secore in the faith of the new reli­gion, was able "to carry himself well in it, and so was his wife also; and truly they gave an excellant example in this also, as they have in other things; here were no black faces for it as the manner of the Indians is, nor goods buried with it, nor hellish howlings over the dead, but a patient resigning of it to him that gave it; There were some English at the burial, and many Indians to whom I spake something of the Resnrrection, and as we were going away, one of the Indians told me be was much refreshed in being freed from their old customes, as also to hear of the Resurrection of good men and their children to be with God."

In the spring of 1652 occurred a ooteworthy event. In that year the Christian Indians of their own accord asked the missionary that they might have SOH,e method settled among them for the exercise of order and discipline. They expressed a willingness to subject them­selves to such punishments as God had appointed for those who broke His laws; and further requested that they might have men chosen among them to act with the missionary and his father to encourage those who "walked in an orderly manner," and to deal with those who did not, according to the word of God.

A day was designated for fasting and prayer and the Indians were

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assembled by the missionary. A number of converts spoke and ten or twelve prayed, not with a set form like children, but like men imbued with a good measure of the knowledge of God, their own wants, and the wants of others, with much allection, and many spiritual petitions favoring of a heavenly mind, we are told.

The missionary drew up an "Excellant Covenant" in the Indian language, which he read and made plain to the Indians, who with free consent united in it, and promised to keep it faithfully.

       The covenant was as follows:

 

Wee the distressed Indians of the Vineyard (or Nope the Indian name of the Island) That beyond all memory have been without the

True God, without a Teacher, and without a Law, the very Servants of Sin and Satan, and without Peace, for God did justly vex us for our sins; having lately through his mercy heard of the Name of the True God, the Name of his Son Jesus Christ, with the holy Ghost the Comforter, three Persons, but one most Glorious God, whose Name is JEHOVAH: We do praise His Glorious Greatness, and in the sorrow of our hearts, and shame of our faces, we do acknowledg and renounce our great and many sins, that we and our Fathers have lived in, do run unto him for mercy, and pardon for Christ Jesus sake; and we do this day through the blessing of God upon us, and trusting to his gracious help, give up our selves in this Covenant, Wee, our Wives, and Children, to serve JEHOVAH: And we do this day chuse JEHOVAH to be our God in Christ Jesus, our Teacher, our Law-giver in his Word, our King, our Judge, our Ruler by his Magistrates and Ministers; to fear God Him­self, and to trust in Him alone for Salvation, both of Sonl and Body,

in this present Life, and the Everlasting Life to come, through his mercy in Christ Jesus our Savior, and Redeemer, and by the might of

his Holy Spirit; to whom with the Father and Son, be all Glory ever­lasting. Amen.

In choosing rulers under this covenant, the Indians made choice of such among them as were best approved for piety and most likely to suppress wickedness.

This was the beginning of the Indian church at Martha's Vineyard, which the senior Mayhew was to fully organize with Indian officers and pastor eighteen years later. By the end of October there were 282 converts at Martha's Vineyard, not including children. Eight of these had been powwows who had forsaken "their diabolical Craft, and profitable Trade, as they held it, to turn into the ways of GOD."

Begun in obscurity, the work of the Vineyard mission was growing

 

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in attention. The pleas of Eliot, the publication of Mayhew's letter of 1647 by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, and the publicity given the work by the Rev. Henry Whitfield, at length brought recognition of a pecuniary character. When Thomas May­hew, Jr., became a salaried missionary of the English society is not definitely known, but it would appear that it was not until 1654 that such a relation was established. Irregular gratuities since the visit of Whitfield had come from abroad. During the years of inception the mission had been supported entirely from the private purse of the Mayhews.

At the annual meeting of the commissioners of the United Colonies held in September of 1654 it was voted to allow Thomas Mayhew, Jr., for his "pains and laboure this yeare the sume of forty pounds," and for a schoolmaster to the Indians and other employees the sum of ten pounds apiece per annum. Added to this was a gift of ten pounds to the missionary "to dispose to sicke weake and well deserving Indians."

The commissioners also appropriated money for a meetinghouse to be built for the Indians in response to a suggestion from Mayhew; allowing for that purpose "the some of forty pounds, in Iron worke, Nayles, Glasse and such other pay. . . . expecting the Indians should Improve theire labours to finish the same." A further allowance of eight pounds was granted for a boat "for the safe passage of youer selfe and Indians betwixt the Island and the mayne" land; it to be "carefully preserved and Imployed onely for the service Intended, and nott att the pleasure of the Indians Etc: upon other ocations."

Conditions had now radically changed. Instead of laboring upon private financial resources inadequate to carry on the work and handi­capped by personal wants, Thomas Mayhew, Jr., was the recipient of an annual salary from the society, quite excellent in the values of that day and place. The grant of salary came after many years of unre­munerated service, so that in the fourteen years that he labored as a missionary he received no more than an average yearly salary of eleven pounds, besides books. From this should he deducted costs paid out of his own pocket, and profits he could have amassed had he turned his thoughts to the betterment of his personal fortune and not devoted so much of his time to the duties of his calling.

In 1656 the commissioners raised his salary to fifty pounds, and again allotments were made for assistants. At this time the name of

 

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Peter Folger appears on the pay roll of the society as one "Imployed by Mr. Mayhew." The staff included two Indian interpreters, so-called, one of whom was Hiacoomes, a lay preacher.

In 1657, Thomas Mayhew, Sr., was voted ten pounds, the first appearance of his name on the salary rolls of the society.

The status of the missionary's work at this period is summarized by his son: "This worthy servant of the Lord continued his painful labours among them until the year 1657 in whicb time God was pleas'd to give such success to his faithful and unweary'd labour that many hundred men and women were added to the church; such who might truly be said to be holy in conversation, and for knowledge such who needed not to be taught the first principles of religion; besides the many hundred looser professors."

The Vineyard mission had been in existence fourteen years, and its organization was well perfected. Its superintendent felt he could now afford the time necessary for a short voyage to England, where matters connected with the patrimony of his wife and her brother demanded attention.

The merchant father of Mistress Mayhew and Thomas Paine had died sometime before 1653, leaving estates at Whittlebury and Greens Norton in Northamptonshire, one of which produced a revenue of one hundred forty pounds a year, a rich inheritance. Thomas Paine's mother, Mrs. Jane Mayhew, second wife of Governor Mayhew, had gone to England in 164Z "to settle her son's Right" to these estates, at which time a Sir William Bradshaw "challenged some interest during his Ladyes life, yett none to the Inheritance." A jury at Greens Nor­ton found the true heirs to the land to be Thomas Paine, then under age, and Thomas Mayhew, Jr., as husband of Jane Paine.

How much of this estate was ever realized is uncertain. As late as 1646, and again in the following year, Thomas and Jane Mayhew executed powers of attorney  o Captain Robert Harding, of Boston, to lease lands in Whittlebury. The distant residence of the Paine heirs and the unsettled conditions of the time make it problematic whether the full revenues of these properties ever found their way into the pos­session of their colonial claimants.

Thomas Mayhew, Jr., in 1656, had asked permission of the com­missioners to make the voyage, but they assuring him "that a worke of higher consideration would suffer much by his soe long absence advised

 

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him to send some other man." Permission, however, was granted the following year, induced by the fact that one of the purposes of the clergyman in making the trip was that he might give the English peo­ple a better idea of the progress of missionary work in America than he would do by letter "and to pursue the most proper Measures for the further Advancement of Religion among them."

In order to strikingly illustrate the progress of the gospel among the Indians and the effect of education on them, the missionary resolved to take with him one of his converts, a young native preacher who had been brought up by him in his own house. Naturally the intended departure of the missionary with one of their number aroused the greatest interest and excitement of the Indians.

The missionary's own projected absence was mourned in advance by his native Rock, who could not easily bear his absence even so short a distance as Boston before they longed for his return.

Before his embarkation, Thomas Mayhew, Jr., arranged a fare­well meeting with his native Rock, and the legend is that he went to the place of the most distant assembly, where was held a service of worship and song, and where he gave his converts a parting precept to be steadfast in his absence. His faithful followers, loathe to leave him, followed him in his journey to the east end of the island, their numbers increasing at each meeting place until they neared the spot on the "Old Mill Path," since known in song and story as the "Place on the Way-side," where had gathered hundreds of Indians in anticipa­tion of his return to meet with them. "Here a great combined service was held, and the simple children of this Rock heard their beloved shep­ard give a blessing to them and say the last sad farewells to them indi­vidually and as a congregation. It was a solemn occasion, long held in memory by all who participated."

It was the last service for the Indians ever held by Thomas May­hew, Jr. Shortly after, he embarked for London. Says Daniel Gookin, "in the month of November, Mr. Mayhew, the son, took shipping at Boston, to pass for England, about some special concerns, intending to return with the first opportunity; for he left his wife and children at the Vineyard: and in truth his heart was very much in that work, to my knowledge, I being well acquainted with him. He took his pas. sage for England in the best of two ships then bound for London, whereof one James Garrett was master. The other ship whereof John

 

 

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Pierce was commander, I went passenger therein. . . . . Mr. Garrett's ship, which was about four hundred tons, had good accommoda­tions greater far than the other: and she had aboard her a very rich lading of goods, but most especially of passengers, about fifty in num­ber; whereof divers of them were persons of great worth and virtue, both men and women; especially Mr. Mayhew, Mr. Davis, Mr. Ince, and Mr. Pelham, all scholars, and masters of arts, as I take it, most of them."

The ship cleared from Boston and headed for Old England with its "precious cargo," including Mr. Mayhew, his brother-in-law, and Indian convert; never to be heard of again.

It is not known what disaster befell the youthful clergyman. Only can it be said that his ship became long overdue, while her companion ship reached its destination in safety. Weeks passed into months while the clergy of England and the patrons of the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel waited expectantly for the arrival of the renowned missionary from the wilds of America with his Indian convert.

Hope in time gave way to fear. Word was returned to the Vineyard that Master Garrett and his ship was missing.

It became common opinion on both sides of the Atlantic that the missionary would never again be seen. But the missionary's father, as late as August of the following year, wrote: "I cannot yett give my sonnes over." In his heart lingered hope that they had been captured by pirates and held for ransom, or had perhaps been cast ashore upon some strange land to return in after years, to the joy and amazement of all their kin.

Anxiously the old man scanned the seas from the shore of his island home for the ship that might bring news of his missing son and step­son. Prayers choked his throat as each succeeding vessel whose white sails gladdened his weary eyes came to anchor in the harbor off his house. But none of them brought the news he yearned. The hopes of the old patriarch died at last. Thomas Mayhew, Jr., "the young Christian warrior," was the first of hundreds of Vineyard sons to perish at sea.

Whether he died in some great ocean cataclysm, whether storm or iceburg struck his ship and foundered it, or whether it was boarded and captured by the crew of some pirate vessel and its passengers put to the ,sword, while its sister ship raced on ahead out of sight and sound, will never be known.

 

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Contemporary writers refer to the loss of Thomas Mayhew, Jr., with sorrowing words. His fellow-worker, John Eliot, in a letter pub. lished in London, penned the touching plaint, saying simply: "The Lord has given us this amazing blow, to take away my Brother May. hew." The commissioners of the United Colonies referred to his death as a loss "which aU present seemeth to be almost Irrepairable."

Morton, in "New England's Memorial," says: "Amongst many considerable passengers there went Mr. Thomas Mayhew, jun., of Martin's Vineyard, who was a very precious man. He was well skilled, and had attained to a great proficiency in the Indian language, and had a great propensity upon his spirit to promote God's glory in their conversion; whose labors God blessed for the doing of much good amongst them; in which respect he was very much missed amongst them, as also in reference unto the preaching of God's word amongst the English there. . . . the loss of him was very great."

The "Place on the Way.side" became to the Indian a hallowed spot. In their thoughts it was associated as the place where last they had seen their lost shepherd, and it is stated that the ground where he stood "was for all that Generation remembered with sorrow." The attachment of the converts was genuine, for we are told that "for many Y ears after his departure, he was seldom named without Tears."

It is a part of the legendary lore of this spot that as the Indians saw the form of their beloved teacher vanish into distance, and ere they themselves turned their heavy hearts homeward, they piled by the side of the trail a little heap of stones in remembrance of the place where they had parted with their leader with embraces and prayers, and many tears, as Paul's converts did with him at Miletus, when they "all wept sore and fell on his neck and kissed him."

To the Indian the ocean was a vast illimitable expanse whose mysteries and restless solitudes embosomed indescribable dangers and terrors. They feared the white man's sails, however wonderful, would fail to waft back to them their staunch and gentle friend.

When in time these fears became realized, Indians passing the trail dropped in memory a stone upon the sacred cairn, until in time it grew into an imposing heap, tribute to the scholar who had deigned to teach them the ways of the English and their God.

There by the wayside, the rude monument, more eloquent than the greatest cathedral built on blood and conquest, stood until the storms

 

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and winds of after generations and browsing herds gradually disman. tled and overthrew it.

At the place of this historic scene, on July 27, 19°1, the Martha's Vineyard Chapter of Edgartown, Daughters of the American Revolu­tion, dedicated a bronze tablet, set in a large boulder, placed on top of the stones. "The boulder was brought from Gay Head by descendants of the 'poor and beloved' natives, who raised the foundations when passing by in generations since."

                The tablet bears the following inscription:

THIS ROCK MARKS THE "PLACE ON THE WAYSIDE" WHERE THE REV. THOMAS MAYHEW, JR., SON OF GOV. MAYHEW. FIRST PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST ON MARTHA'S VINEYARD, AND THE FIRST MISSIONARY TO THE INDIANS OF NEW ENGLAND, SOLEMNLY AND AFFECTIONATELY TOOK LEAVE OF THE INDIANS, WHO, IN LARGE NUMBERS, HAD FOLLOWED HIM DOWN FROM THE WESTERN PART OF THE ISLAND, BEING HIS LAST WORSHIP AND INTERVIEW WITH THEM BEFORE EMBARKING FOR ENGLAND IN 1657, FROM WHENCE HE NEVER RETURNED NC TIDINGS EVER COMING FROM THE SHIP OR ITS PASSENGERS. IN LOVING REMEMBRANCE OF HIM THOSE INDIANS RAISED THIS PILE OF STONE, 1657-1901. ERECTED BY THE MARTHA'S VINEYARD CHAPTER, DAUGHTERS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION. THE LAND GIVEN FOR THIS PURPOSE BY CAPTAIN BENJAMIN COFFIN CROMWELL, OF TISBURY; THE BOULDER BROUGHT FROM GAY HEAD, A GIFT FROM THE RESIDENT INDIANS. TABLET PURCHASED WITH CONTRIBUTIONS FROM MAYHEW'S DESCENDANTS.

                The ceremonies at the unveiling of the memorial were closed by

greetings from an Indian deacon of the church at Gay Head.

Mr. Prince, writing in 1727, states that he himself had seen the rock on descending ground upon which the missionary sometimes used to stand and preach to the great numbers crowding to hear him: and that the place on the wayside where he solemnly and affectionately took his leave of that poor and beloved people of his was for all that genera­tion remembered with sorrow.

So ended the labors of the Rev. Thomas Mayhew, Jr., America's

 

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young and courageous scholar who, at the age of twenty-one, forswore the pursuit of wealth and power that he might dedicate his life to the advancement of an humble people.

His life was one of toil and self-sacrifice, yet at the age of thirty­six years he passed to immortality. He had preached in no great cathe­dral. He had been pastor to no parishioner of wealth or power. He had indulged in no eccentric means to make his name known abroad. Modest and self-effacing, he had embarked in missionary work among the Indians at his own expense, when the prospects were without hope of salary or reward.

In the language of his father, the spirit of Thomas Mayhew, Jr., was "of God and not of man." No stone marks his grave. His monu­ment is in the memory of man.

 

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CHAPTER XI

 

THE PATRIARCH

When the senior Thomas Mayhew made his first visit to the Vine­yard in an attempt to secure an Indian deed to the territory, he is thought to have brought with him an interpreter from the mainland. He soon perceived the practical value of a personal knowledge of the native tongue and the benefits that would flow from an understanding' :W

of the language in harmonizing relations between the races that were to contend for a livelihood together. He wished for friendly rela­tions unstained by blood. He felt that an understanding of the Indian tongue would do much to promote this. He knew that prejudice is fostered by the sound of a strange tongue and the inability to grasp the psychology of an alien mind.    'ti=

Both father and son applied themselves to a study of the Indian speech. The task was tedious and laborious. It was a disheartening work that had to be mastered at the outset, before much else could be done; a labor which discouraged many hearts less stout and deter­mined. Wood comments that the Indian language was hard to learn, few of the English being able to speak any of it, or capable of the right pronunciation. Jesuits returned to France unable to master its sounds, and Father RaIle tells of his speech being ridiculed by Indians. The Franciscans, of California, made no great attempt to learn the lan­gauge, but relied largely on interpreters.

The speech was a language which "delighted greatly" in com- 'M

pounding words. A word in its final state often presented a formidable aspect. Cotton Mather jestingly remarks that the language must have been growing ever since the confusion of Babel. To demonstrate its uncivility in a striking way, he tells us that demons of the invisible world, who could master Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, were utterly baIRed by the Algonquin tongue.

The Indian language was a tongue the learning of which offered little enrichment to the student who had toilsomely floundered through its labyrinths of parts of speech. It had no literature worthy of the name, no books, no great saga to offer as a reward to the philologist who would master its intricacies; only a few folk stories surpassed by the Greeks centuries before.

 

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Worst of all there was no aid by which the language could be learned, no grammar, no written specimens from which word sounds could be studied, for the language was an unwritten one. The sole mode of procedure open to one who sought to learn it was to strain one's ears in an effort to catch its sense in fragmentary bits from Indian companions, who knew little or no English.

The language was one which had no affinity with any European tongue from which aid might be brought to bear. One who has mas­tered a foreign language under the most favorable circumstances can appreciate the enormity of the task which confronted the English mis­sionary setting out upon his study.

Experience Mayhew, one of the great philologists of the Algon­quin dialect, cites a few examples of the compounding length of this mystifying speech.

The English words, says he, "We did strongly Love one another, may be but one word in Indian, viz, nummunnukkoowamonittimun­nonup: So, they strongly loved olle another, is in Indian munnehk­wamontoopanek. These indeed are Long words, and well they may considering how much they comprehend in them. However I will give you an Instance of one considerably longer, viz: N up-pahk-nuh-to-pe­pe-nt1lU-wut-chut-chuh-quo-ka-ne h-cha-nehcha-e-nin-nu-mun-nono k. Here are 58 letters and 22 Syllables, if I do not miss count yID. The English of this long word is, Our well skilled Looking Glass makers. But after the reading of so long a word you had need be refreshed with some that are shorter, and have a great deal in a lide room, I will therefore mention some such, as Nookoosh, I have a Father. Noosis, I have a grandchild. Wamontek, Love ye one another."

The Jesuit RaIle found that to acquire a stock of words and phrases was of little avail. It was necessary to become acquainted with the idiomatic turns and arrangements of expression, which could be learned only by familiar intercourse with the natives day by day. It required cJose application to catch from their lips the peculiarities of their speech, to distinguish the several combinations of sound and to per­ceive the meaning they were intended to convey.

Eliot, in learning the language, hired a "pregnant witted" young man who "pretty well" understood English and well understood his own language. He then applied himself with great patience to the method substantially affected by RaIle, of noting carefully the dif.

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ference between the Indian and English modes of constructing words. Having a clue to this, he pursued every noun and verb he could think of through all possible variations. In this way he arrived at rules which he was able to apply for himself in a general manner.

The methods of these students were the methods applied to the task by the Mayhews. Indeed, there was no other way.

Thomas Mayhew early observed that the Indian princes on the islands, although they maintained their absolute power and jurisdic­tion as kings, were yet bound to do certain homage to higher lords on the continent. "They were no great people" in number, says Matthew Mayhew, yet they had been wasted by wars "wherein the great princes of the continent (not unlike European princes for like reasons of state) were not unassisting." In order to win the favor of these greater kings on the mainland "the balance to decide their controv.er­sies" and to render them assistance as occasion required, the island sachems were impelled to do them homage and to make them annual presents. The island sachems were, therefore, jealous of any effort on the part of the English that would still further limit their influence. They feared that the missionary activities of the younger Mayhew would result in the detachment of their subjects from their authority.

Observing this, the senior Mayhew "judg'd it meet that Moses and Aaron joyn hands," the legislator and the priest. He, therefore, pru­dently let the sachems know that he was to govern the English which should inhabit the islands, "that his master was in power far above any of the Indian monarchs; but that, as he was powerful, so was he a great lover of justice: that therefore he would in no measure invade their jurisdictions; but on the contrary, assist them as need requir's: that religion and government were distinct things. Thus in no long time they conceived no ill opinion of the Christian religion," and the presence of the English.

Thomas Mayhew avoided the error committed elsewhere by offi­cials who, impressed by stories of native splendor in India, at first treated the American chiefs as kings and princes of European rank. He was not thereafter obliged to humor occasional affectations of royal dignity which, coupled with the red man's natural arrogance, made him difficult to handle. The Indian was best controlled by a display of dig­nity and great solemnity, coupled with a firm resoluteness of innate (but not ornate) superiority.

 

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In the work of harmonizing relations between the races and in an understanding of Indian psychology, Thomas Mayhew is without peer. I{oger Williams is not his equal, nor William Penn. Williams admit­tcd his inability to civilize the Indian, and did not even try. Neither Roared to the heights touched by Mayhew in tutoring the undeveloped 'nlind of the aborigine in the art of self-government.

Mayhew's feat of establishing Indian courts and churches and a

military company among them, presided over by Indian judges and clergymen and commanded by Indian officers, should be an epoch in American history. Trial by jury was not the least of his triumphs among a people long accustomed to arbitrary and autocratic govern­ment. The elder Mayhew was not a translator of the Indian tongul': like Eliot, but in the diplomatic and political aspects of Indian rela­tions, he out-shone that great and worthy apostle to the Indian.

There can be little doubt but that the elder's work was greatly facilitated by the appeal of both himself and son to the spiritual side of the Indian. The white man's religion exercised a strong fascination upon the Indian's mind. Christianity was a religion better far than his own. What it lacked in number of gods, it over-balanced with stories of prophets and warriors who reminded the Indian of his own men reputedly wise in council and mighty in battle.

Certain it is the early labors of the younger Mayhew had a large practical value. His teachings proved of immeasurable benefit to the settlers in the earlier days of the plantation and in later years when King Philip stirred the Indians of New England into a war of attempted extirpation.

In his administration as patentee and governor, Thomas Mayhew, Sr., was ready always to hear and redress native grievances. This he made pains to do upon first complaint to prevent ill impression from getting into the Indian mind that the English were favored at law. Whenever he had occasion to decide a cause between parties of the opposing races, he .not only gave the Indian equal justice with the English, but took care to convince and satisfy the Indian suppliant that what he determined was right and equal.

In this way he gave the red men so fair an example of the happi­ness of his administration as to fill them with a strong desire to adopt the same form for themselves. Far from introducing any form of gov­ernment among them against their will, he first convinced them of the

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advantage of it, and then brought them to desire him to introduce and settle it.

Thomas Mayhew had early inculcated in the native the theory that "religion and government were distinct things," that while some of the Indians might embrace the white man's god, they still remained subjects of the local sachems; but as the Indians in increasing numbers adopted the new religion they sought also submission to the English government.

By the prestige which he had attained among them, and b11, his diplomacy, he was able to persuade the native rules to allow the Pray­ing Indians a limited form of self-government, but wisely he recognized the authority of the sachems under Indian custom and made no endeavor to entirely substitute English authority for that so long established. He suggested that the sachems admit the counsel of judicious Christian Indians among themselves, and in cases of more than ordinary consequence to erect a jury for trial, promising his own assistance to the Indian princes, whose assent was always to be obtained, though they were not Christians.

To this suggestion he was in time able to secure the accord of Indian sachems. "The Indians admired and loved him as the most superior person they had ever seen; and they esteemed themselves so safe and happy in him that he could command them anything without giving them uneasiness, they being satisfied that he did it because it was most fit and proper, and that in due time it would appear to be so."

It did not take the patentee of Martha's Vineyard long to discover

that the project of civilizing the Indians was so closely related to reli­gion that the one could not prosper without the other. From his first ;

coming he had yearned to help the unfavored natives of the islands, destitute of nearly all the arts of life, that they might no longer live in fear of the witchery of powwows and the mental torment of evil spirits. He wished to give them 'courage to break away from old superstitions that harnessed their will power and smothered ambition, that they might no longer livt: in "carnal" state in mean and filthy hovels, and eke a livelihood from sea and soil that did not suffice. The ptoblem was one of economics, government, and religion, all intertangled so that the unraveling of each thread was a delicate labor that led the unraveler from one knot to another and from thread to thread. He accordingly at an early date gave assistance to his son in missionary work.

 

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Gookin, who knew both Mayhews personally, writes':

The first instruments, that God pleased to use in this work at this place, was Mr. Thomas Mayhew, and his eldest son, Mr. Thomas Mayhew, junior. It pleased God strongly to incline the two good men, both the father and the son, to learn the Indian tongue of that island: und the minister especially was very ready in it; and the old man had a very competent ability in it.

These two, especially the son, began to preach the gospel to the Indians. . . . . The good father, the governor, being always ready to

encourage and assist his son in that good work, not only upon the Vine­yard, but upon Nantucket isle, which is about twenty miles from it; God's blessing in the success of their labours was and is very great.

Prior to the death of the younger Mayhew, the activities of the father were deemed of sufficient importance to warrant the payment to him of a salary by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel. In later years Mayhew himself stated that he had always carried "the greatest burthen" in the missionary work, even when his son was alive,"hardly ever free."

In a letter to the commissioners, in 1678, he states that he had been

engaged in missionary work thirty-one years, which would carry the entry of this work back to the year 1647, not long after Eliot's meeting with the Indians on the mainland. Doubtless he had spoken of moral and religious problems to individual natives prior to this date.

His place, both as patentee and chief-ruler, obliged him not only to a frequent converse with the natives, but also to learn so much of their language as was needful to understand and discourse with them. And as he grew in this acquirement, his pious disposition and great pity for that miserable people lead him to improve it in taking all proper occa­sions to tell them of their deplorable state, and to set them in the way of deliverance.

His grave and majestic presence and superior station struck an awe into their minds, and always raised their great attention to what he spake.

The famous powwow, Tequanonim, a member of the native priest­hood, whose position gave him great power and influence, denounced his profession and became a Christian as early as 1650, as' heretofore related, declaring that his conversion was chiefly owing to some things he had heard from the elder Mayhew, who had taken occasion to dis­course with him about true happiness and religion, which he could never forget.

 

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Thus this pious gentleman concurred with his lovely son in his endeavors to open the eyes of these wretched heathens, and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God.

In Christianizing the Indian the economic element played a promi­nent part. It has been a precept with missionaries of the Christian

faith from the days of the mediaeval monks, who made their monas­teries schools of industry as well as faith, that new occupations as well as new doctrines are essential to the civilization of the heathen. The outward life had to be changed as well as the inward life.

Civilization is builded upon the sustained toil of man. It was early perceived by the missionaries that if the Indian was to cope on an equal plane with the European, he must emerge from his lethargic state of sleep and ease. He must earn by the sweat of his brow the things that go to make a better material life. The spiritual life is seldom found in flower where the material life is filled with sloth and vermill.

So it was that the Christian Indian was taught to live as near as practical the white man's life. It is said of the Praying Indians of Massachusetts that they built for themselves better and more substan­tial homes [i. e., wigwams], fenced their grounds with ditches and

stone walls, and cultivated gardens. With equal truth may this be applied to the Vineyard Indians. Their homes and gardens, being of

greater permanence, were naturally superior to those of their more nomadic countrymen who wandered about with little pride of habi­tation.

It is said of Eliot's Indians that as they became better farmers and more industrious, they commenced a traffic with their English neigh­bors, finding in winter a market for brooms, staves, eel-pots, baskets, and turkeys; in summer whortleberries, grapes, and fish, and in the spring and autumn strawberries, cranberries, and venison.

The Indian women were taught to spin and with the products of their looms were able to buy, or exchange, conveniences of civilization. Says one writer with little seriousness, "The hum of the spinning wheel might have been heard in many a family, which had been familiar only with the whoop."

                Of course, in all things the missionaries were watched by a certain element of their countrymen with criticising eyes.

                Peter Oliver voices in print the popular concepts of those who scorn

the labors of missionaries. He alleges that the efforts of the mis­

 

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sionaries were a failure and assigns this not only to the falsity of their religion, as he contends, but also to that ignorant zeal which would turn the hunting-paths of the Indian into streets and squares, and convert his wigwams into houses. "To denationalize the red men at once was to demoralize them," adds Oliver.

Nothing could more clearly demonstrate Oliver's colossal ignorance of his subject than these statements. The one thing which Eliot and the Mayhews did not do was to attempt to at once  enationalize the Indian. The Indian was repeatedly advised to pay his tribute to Cresar, as the missionaries well knew a lapse upon his part to pay tribute to his sachems would bring down upon their work the animosity of the ruling classes. An attempt to compel the Indian to substitute the English type of house for the native wigwam was not made, for it was early realized that the English type of habitation would prove too costly to the overwhelming majority of the Indians. The writings of the missionaries refer repeatedly to Indian houses, but these were mere wigwams; a careful distinction is maae by them of Indian houses and the "English house," which was the community center and church building of English construction customarily found in every Indian praying town of size.

But Oliver is fond of sweet flowing language and needs must con­tinue to display his sublime, albeit well worded, lack of information upon a subject which has lured so many writers into ecstasies. Says he: "To civilize these children of the forest, to teach them to dig and to wear hats, and their women to spin and make bread, to exchange the religion of nature for cold abstractions, was only to degrade them." These are fantastic thoughts. To dig and spin could hardly degrade one used largely to dog-like baskings in the sun any more than chopping wood degrades a tramp.

A people who crack lice with their teeth are not degraded by hon­est toil, although the arrogant Indian Brave, proud almost solely in the fact that he was of the male gender, may have so reasoned.

 

Thomas Mayhew, Sr., was sixty-four years of age when his son set sail for England, in 1657, leaving the affairs of the Indian mission to his Care.

Involved with the government and material concerns of the island, the father found the full responsibility of the missionary task a momen­

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tous one. Yet stoutly he carried on the work of his son, supplying at times the pulpit at Edgartown, where on the Sabbath Day the vener­able patriarch of the island preached to his people, and we may be sure as he lifted his voice in prayer, that the thoughts of the father and the congregation were with the son who had gone down to the sea and been heard of no more.

 

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CHAPTER XII

 

THE APOSTLE TO THE INDIANS

As late as April, 1658, the Society for the Propagation of the Gos­pel at London wrote the commissioners in America that Mr. Garrett's ship is "yett mising." Its members had hoped for a report in person from young Mayhew concerning the progress of his work, "but wee feare that the ship wherin hee was is miscarryed which is noe smale greife unto us and therfore wee desire if soe sad a Prouidence haue befallen vs that a fitt and able pson might succeed him in carrying on the Indian worke which wee leaue vnto youer selues."

In response the commissioners replied that "the losse of Mr Mahew in relation to this worke is very great; and soe farr as for the present wee can see irreperable; our thoughts haue bine of some and our endeauors shalbee Improued to the vttermost to supply that place which is the most considerable in that pte of the countrey his father though ancient is healpfull with an other English man [Folger] and two Indians that Instruct the rest vpon the Lords day and att other times."

During the period of uncertainty and transition the thoughts of the father turned to the appointment of a successor in the Vineyard mis­sion. As early as the fall of 1658 he addressed the commissioners of the United Colonies with the suggestion that they urge either the Rev. John Higginson or Rev. Abraham Pierson to take over the superin­tendency of the island mission. Even now, hope more than expectation lingered that his son might yet return, for he later comments, "If my sonne be gonne to heaven, I shall press very hard upon Mr. Higgin­son to come here, as I have written the commissioners."

In response to the prayers of the father, the commissioners assured

him that they would use every diligence to "make a supply as the Lord may direct us," but confessed their inability to move either Mr. Hig­ginson or Mr. Pierson to take up the crook dropped by the Vineyard shepherd "unless the Lord strongly sett in to pswade them."

 

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That the Reverends Higginson and Pierson did not see fit to bury themselves upon the Vineyard among the lowly Indian at a parsimonious wage was soon evident, and they were not "pswaded."

Meanwhile the governor continued to carry the burden that should have passed to the shoulders of a younger man. He was resolved that the work commenced by his son should not be imperiled for want of hearts stout enough to assume its burdens with nothing in sight "but God's promises." Something of this he must have written to the commissioners, as his old acquaintance, John Endicott, writing as president of that body, addressed him September, 1658:

Y ouers of the 25 of the sixt month wee receiued and rejoyce that it hath pleased god in any measure to beare vp youer hart and support you vnder those sad thoughts and feares conserning youer son; wherin wee can not but deeply sumpathise with you and Indeed doe mind it as that which att the present seemeth to be almost Irrepairable; but hee that is the lord of the haruist will (wee hope) send forth his labourers therunto; and you may assure youer selfe that wee will vse all Diligence to make a supp[l]y as the lord may direct vs.

Duties as a missionary were labors, as we know, not strange to the ageing chief magistrate. The Indians had found him a protector and

friend. His deportment and fair dealings had won their confidence and approval. But the magistrate's advanced years and his numerous

administrative duties were drawbacks to a missionary career. Mayhew came soon to the realization that help was not forthcom­ing. The commissioners, although professing diligence in persuading a clergyman to settle upon the island, appeared fully satisfied that the work should continue under his guidance, writing Mayhew that "wee thinke that god doth call for youer more then ordinery Assistance in this worke and are very well pleased that youer speritt is sae farr Inclined thervnto; and desire you may pseuere therein."

The commissioners were potent leaders in the New England colonies; their body including governors and ex-governors. As fiscal agents of the English society they had been in correspondence with

Mayhew concerning Indian affairs and well knew his accomplishments. They were satisfied with his ability to carryon successfully the work that was so important to the peace and welfare of the colonies. It was obvious that there was none in New England of the same spirit as the younger Mayhew, who had spent his strength, yet had

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rejoiced, in the midst of many "Aches, Pains and Distempers," con­f racted by lodging on hard mats in exposed wigwams. Thomas May­hew, Senior, "sees no Probability of obtaining so sufficient a Salary as 'llight invite a regular Minister to engage in the Indian Service; he has little or no Hopes of finding any of the Spirit of his deceased Son, to hear the Burden."

The sorrowing father concluded that the spirit and sacrifices of his son had been "all of GOD, and not merely of Man: and when he looked on the Indians, he could not bear to think that the Work so hopefully begun, and so far advanced by his Son, should now expire with him a]so." This and a compassion for the souls of a perishing people, raised him above all "Ceremonies and petty Forms and Distinctions that lay in the Way, and which he accounted as nothing in competition with their eternal Salvation"; and so, although a governor, he was not ashamed to become a preacher among them.

He alone of the colonial governors kept in person the covenant the men of England made unto their King when he granted them New World charters, that one of the principal ends of their going into America was to carry the gospel of Christ to the native inhabitants.

The patentee of Martha's Vineyard was one of the founders of the New World, in him was vested powers of government; owning vast tracts of land upon numerous islands he was in the light of prevailing standards a wealthy man. He might have spent the declining years of his life on the laurels of the past; yet he was not content. The great­est years of his life lay before him, in his sixty-fifth year.

Having lost the comfort and devotion of an only son, he felt that he could build no better memorial to the memory of the one departed than to carryon the work which had lain closest to his heart. So the Worshipful Thomas Mayhew, Esq., the sixth decade of his life half out, came to a resolution to do what he could himself and entered upon the arduous duties of the priesthood evangelistic.

He preached to some of the Indian assemblies one day every week so long as he lived, a period of twenty-five years, until the sands of time had run their course in his eighty-ninth year. "And," says Prince, "his Heart was so exceedingly engaged in the Service, that he spared no Pains nor Fatigues, at so great an Age therein; sometimes travel­ling on Foot nigh twenty miles thro' the Woods, to preach and visit,

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when there was no English House near to lodge at, in his from home."

At the end of the first year the missionary writes, "I have t mercye taught them this yeare, and doe still goe on, and the La strengthened me much of late, beyond my expectation." Th heart still beat. And again, he writes, "I thought good to certi that this ten yeares past I haue constantly stood ready to at' work of God here amongst the Indians. Vecry much time

spent, & made many joumies, and beene at verry much troubl, in my hawse."

In his first year Mayhew was assisted by a staff of four" These were Peter Folger, two Indian interpreters and schoolr and a Mrs. Bland "for healpfuInes in Phiscike and Chirurgery.

To Mayhew the commissioners, with no very great show of ity, granted a salary of twenty pounds for his "paines in teach instructing the Indians this year." His assistant, Folger, r twenty-five pounds.

Mayhew was not present at the annual meeting of the comers, and they were not in a position to realize how completely man had entered the work nor the extent of the duties perfor him, preaching to some of their assemblies one day every we sometimes traveling on foot "nigh twenly Miles" in the perfe of his duties. The commisisoners doubtless believed that dur period of adjustment, subsequent to the death of his son, the , the elder Mayhew had been more or less supervisory.

John Eliot, too, at one time had experienced difficulties v picayunish conduct of the commissioners. It is recorded that I plaints stirred both England and America, so much so that the dent of the society wrote the commissioners that Eliot by his I tions which "flyeth like lightening" had cost the society some the of pounds in gifts f TOm philanthropic EnglisInnen who had

doubtful of the society's integrity. In England the comm; were accused of hindering the progress of the Gospel by thei! to allow competent maintenances to the Lord's "Instruments" e! in his American vineyards.

The commissioners retorted with figures showing Eliot t receipt of twenty pounds per annum from their funds beside,

 

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given him from other sources in England and a salary of sixty pound. per annum from his church. But the income, good as it was, did not compensate him for his labors, especially as he was in the practice of  iving away much of his salary to needy Indians. The society defended itself with the statement that it was far from justifying Mr. Eliot in his "Turbulent and clamorous proceedings," but intreated the com. missioners to better encourage the work by the allowance of greater disbursements.

Like Eliot, Thomas Mayhew was not satisfied with the honorarium which so inadequately recompensed him for many hours of weary labor, a situation aggravated by the fact that his income compared unfavorably with that awarded others engaged in the same work. He took steps to present to the commissioners a picture of what had been accomplished by the island mission. He addressed a letter to Governor Winthrop, of Connecticut [one of the commissioners], to explain something of conditions at Martha's Vineyard. He writes, "I am sorry that the Commissioners did not send some trustye & considerable person to see how things are carried on here. Mr. Browne of Seacunck, ere he went for England, wrote me he would com on purpose to sattisfie himsellfe about these Indians, whoe had, as I per­ceiued, many doubts of these & all the rest."

The progress of the Vineyard mission was so astonishing that stories of its successes were received at a discount by persons not having the cognizance of first hand information. Too, the settlement of Martha's Vineyard at this time was no part of any greater colony, and was without representation in the meetings of the United Colonies. It may be supposed that the commissioners were inclined to spend the money of the English society in accordance with economic principles not yet dead among merchants and traders. They believed the money should be spent at home. The commissioners from the rich and power­ful colony of Massachusetts dominated the deliberations of the con. ferences and were inclined to spend money more freely for missions about Boston, than elsewhere.

Thomas Mayhew, Jr., had originated the work of evangelizing the Indians. Not detracting one iota from the greatness of Eliot, it cannot be gainsaid that Eliot had the overwhelming advantage of laboring near a seat of population, where his activities and triumphs were easily brought to the attention of wealthy and influential men.

 

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Great sums were given to his work; in camparison only pennies drib. bled into the coffers of the Vineyard mission. In 1658 less than One fifth of the entire sum of money spent by the society was appropriated for Vineyard workers. From 1655 to 1662, Eliot received an annual salary of fifty pounds. Thomas Mayhew, Jr., who had received nothing in the early years of his work, received in 1654 a sal- ary of forty pounds, a like sum in 1655, and fifty pounds the year succeeding. The elder Mayhew, who had helped commence the work and who was now ably continuing its existence, was for the year 1657-1658 paid a salary of twenty pounds compared with Eliot's fifty.

But the commissioners were good men and willing to encourage the poor old gentleman. With the twenty pounds they conveyed the hope that God would afford him strength who had given him a "hart" for the great work.

However, the missionary-governor was not satisfied with divine aid a1one. He recalled the treatment his son had received. He compared the progress of the Vineyard natives with those elsewhere, and the number of converts which was uniformly greater on the island. than at any mission on the mainland, and determined to win ju.tice for hi. cause. As he expressed it, the main end of the society and tho money raised by it was "for the comfort of those that began it," but these were not the ones liberally provided for. "Methinks," writes Mayhew, "that which I haue had is verry little. Truely yf I were now to be hired to doe ass much yearely as I haue donne, thirtie pownds per annum & more to would not doe it."

Not only were the salaries paid the Mayhews discriminatory, but the moneys appropriated the Vineyard mission for the pay of assistants and other purposes were less than allotments to the Eliot mission.

The financial administration of the society's funds did not pass unnoticed. Samuel Maverick, one of the four commissioners appointed by Charles II in 1664 to settle American problems, in a written description of New England referred to the matter thus:

Almost South some what Westerly from Billingsgate is Natuckett Island on which many Indians live and about ten leagues west from it is Martines Vinyard, whereon many Indians live, and also English. In this Island by Gods blissing on the Labour, care and paines of the two Mayhews, father and sonn, the Indians are more civilized then anywhere else which is a step to Christianity, and many of them have attained to a greate measure of knowledge, and is hoped in a short

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time some of them may with joy & Comfort be received into the Bos­,ome of the Church. The younger of those Mayhews was drowned ('omeing for England three yeares since, and the Father goes on with Ihe worke, Although (as I understand) they have had a small share of I hose vast sumes given for this use and purpose of the Revenues of it. I t were good to enquire how it hath been disposed of I know in some loeasure or at least suspect the business hath not been rightly carryed.

The truth of the statement that the Indians of the islands were "more civilized than anywhere else" is attested by the historian Hub­bard, a contemporary. Says he:

The greatest appearance of any saving work, and serious profes­sion of christianity amongst any of them, was at Martin's Vineyard, which beginning in the year 1645 hath gradually proceeded till this present time, wherein all the island is in a manner leavened with the profession of our religion, and hath taken up the practice of our man­ners in civil behaviour, and our manner of cultivating of the earth.

Elsewhere he refers to "The Cape Indians, upon Cape Cod and some other islands neere adjoyning, as at Martin's Vineyard, where civility and Christanity hath taken a deeper roote than in any other plantation of the Indians."

Hubbard is wrong in setting the year 1645 as the date of the beginning of missionary activity at Martha', Vineyard, but his state. statements in other respects are amply supported by the facts.

Edward Godfrey, governor of the Province of Maine, alludes to the financial activities of the commissioners in an indictment against The Massachusetts government. Says he, "I have endeavoured to mew into the Great Benevolences that have been so publicly knowne 1.0 propagate the Gospell in New England. . . . there is a snake in the weeds." Justice requires the comment that Godfrey and Maverick were unfriendly to Puritan Massachusetts. It is not believable that the commissioners were guilty of anything worse than favoritism, and sloth in making investigations.

In his letter to commissioner Winthrop, Mayhew concludes with the hope that if he finds himself unable to attend the next meeting of the commissioners "that the Commissioners of the Bay may haue some power granted to consider with me, & determine what they shall see  good grounds for. . . . . Yow may be pleased to tell the Commissioners that I say, & tis true, that I haue great neede to haue what may be justly comminge to me for this work, to supply my wants."

 

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The work done by Mayhew was a drain not only upon his bodily strength, but upon his private purse.

It is not to be wondered that as he saw the outlays made to the Indians of Massachusetts for books and spectacles and salaries oj assistants he was convinced that the work at the Vineyard was being slighted so far even as to hinder its progress if in fact it did not jeopardize what had already been accomplished.

"Yf I had not seene my help had beene necessary & allso muche desired," writes the missionary, "I woulld neuer haue followed affte: them [the Indians] as I haue donne, I pray take it for graunted, but y such an imployment as myne amongst the Indians be not to be consid ered, or verry litle, I hope I shall sattisfie my sellffe whether the call 0 God by the Indians, which is still contynued by them verry latelj expressing themselves to that purpose."

With these words the old man placed the issue squarely befoF.' the commissioners. If his work was valued so little by them that the: would not even investigate its progress so as to fix the amount prope .for its support, at least he could satisfy himself that the Indians can tinued to desire his services in the call of God.

By this time he is convinced that there it "litle or no hopes of MI Peirson" accepting the call of the Vineyard Church. But he stiJ hoped that a clergyman might be obtained to fill the pulpit of the En  lish church and perform the duties of a missionary to the natives "though he hath litle or noe Indian language, he will soon attaine iJ with the hellpes that are here now." Further, "I desire, yf it may bl a sollid man & a scholler for both works. Y f not, for the present t  Indians are comfortably supplied. Y f I should be taken by death, her is hellpe that the Schoolemaster, who hath some languadge, and ni sonne Doggett that hath, I think, much more than any English mJ vppon the Iland, and is a considerable youn[g] man."

With these words the sixty-five-year-old missionary-magistrat planned the future of his Indians beyond his grave.At this time he gives a picture of his methods. "I doe speake t them sometimes about an howre. I ask sometimes where they vndstand; they say yes; and I know they doe, for in the generall I really know they vnderstand me, but sometimes I doubt mysellfe, & then I ask." Occasionally he uses the services of an interpreter who can

clearly make known "what I know my sellfe."     :

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Notwithstanding scanty revenues, the progress of the Vineyard mission grew apace. At the next meeting of the commissioners, May­hew's salary was increased and the native staff of assistants doubled in number. The commissioners continued to make amends and in the following year their accounts show an island staff of ten teachers, Mayhew, Folger, Hiacoomes ("An Indian Scoo[l]master and Teacher of them on the Lords day"), and "'seaven other Indian Teachers comended to us by Mr. Mahew that are healpful in'Teaching others." There appears to have been a falling off in the need of "Phiscike and Chirurgery." In neither year is there a record of any payment for medical treatment.

The large number of native teachers utilized by Eliot and the missionary-governor of Martha's Vineyard in their work is notice­able. Both leaders were advocates of a teaching method that made use to a great extent of the services of Indian instructors. By this use the missionaries were able to reach the psychology of the native, so that religion- Fould be to him something more than an outward observance of rites, the significance of which he would be unacquainted.

and which he would in time !:ontinue to heed only for profit or love of his teachers. Profit, in a material way, there was little. Geo. graphic reasons forbade the mission stations from holding large and fertile tracts of lands that could be farmed by the natives in communal fashion, and gifts to the natives, were few, beyond books, and salaries to teachers. The Indian was converted by an appeal to the mind and soul and it was hoped that he could be held in the same manner.

In furtherance of this hope John Eliot had undertaken the stag­gering task of translating the Bible into the Algonquin tongue. It was thought that the Indian could be easier taught to read his own tongue, and with better understanding, than English. A Catechism }Vas printed at Cambridge as early as 1653 or 1654. The New Testament in Indian followed in 1661 and the Old Testament two years later.

Before the printing of these books the younger- Thomas Mayhew had opened a school for Indian children. We have the authority of Prince that "quickly there came in about thirty Indian children; he found them apt to learn; and more and more were coming every day."

A modern writer states that this school was the first Indian school opened within the present confines of the United States. Eliot is known to have given some of the funds received by him from England

 

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to instructors for the purpose of teaching Indian children around Bos­ton, but there is no evidence that such tutoring was carried on in an exclusive Indian school or that it was any more than occasional, as appears the case.

After the death of the son the father continued the education of the Indian children with the ambition that a number of the more prom­ising pupils might be given an opportunity to study at the grammar school at Cambridge, and in time attend Harvard College.

The fathers of New England had founded Harvard College while

the rountry was a wilderness in order to maintain the supply of an edu. cated clergy. At this institution the missionaries hoped to train Indian scholars to carry the gospel to their countrymen and to fill the pulpits of Indian churches to be formed when the natives were far enough ,dvanced on the road to civilization.

As early as [653 the society suggested that half a dozen "hope. full Indians" should be trained at the college under some fit tutor that, preserving their own language, they might attain the knowledge of other tongues and "disperse the Indian tonge in the college."

In half a decade students of the Vineyard schools were ready for the higher branches of education. When Matthew Mayhew was sent

ollisland to Cambridge for schooling, about the year [657, he was accompanied, or soon followed, by a number of Vineyard Indians. In September, [659, the regards of the commissioners disclose payments to Mr. Thomas Danforth "for dieting fiue Indian Scallars and cloth­ing them; and M' Mahews son; Att Cambridge," and to Mr. Cor­lett, master of the grammar school, for his "extreordinary paines in Teaching the Indian Scollars and M' Mahews son about two yeares." It was the intent of Thomas Mayhew to send four more converts the following year, for we find the commissioners cautioning him that they desired the scholars to be well grounded in their grammar, or fit for the "accidence" as it was then termed. A grammar school at this time in New England was an institution where Greek and Latin grammar were taught and in no wise cor­responded to the grammar school of later years. In accordance with English practice, it was the purpose of the school to fit students for college. The grammar school at Cambridge was a noted school. Its building adjoined the college and appears to an uncertain extent to

have been part of it.

 

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Two decades after the settlement of the island of Martha's Vine­yard, inhabited by a savage people known to have murdered English sailors, four Indian youths sat at the feet of Master Corlett in the grammar school at Cambridge to enter upon the study of Latin and Greek. Of the five subjected to the "extreordinary paines" of School. master Corlett, death removed one the following year; the records disclosing a debit "for Charges of buriall."

In 1659 there were five Indian youths at Cambridge in the gram. mar school whose diligence and proficiency in studies were reported very encouraging. They were described as being very prudent and pious, diligent in their studies and civil in their carriage. Examined openly by the president of Harvard College at commencement, for the edification of the Godly in the colony, they gave good satisfaction of their knowledge of the Latin tongue to the examiner and the "honored and Reuerent ouerseers."

In a couple of years, two had made sufficient progress to matricu­late at Harvard. In this year appears an item for "clothing an Indian att his first coming" to Cambridge. The year following, the commis­sioners ordered several of the Indian scholars at Mr. Weld's school in Roxbury to be removed to the grammar school at Cambridge "att the expiration of this yeare and hee is alowed to take another youth now sent from Martins Vineyard that came to him about the 9" of this Instant."

For the encouragement of the students, books, papers, inkhorns, and even "blanketts and Ruggs for the Indian Scollars of Cambridge and Roxburry" were supplied by the society, with firewood and candles in addition.

It may be that two of the "scollars" at the grammar school were not Vineyard Indians, but certain it is that one was from that place and that the two in the "colledge" were Mayhew proteges. The latter were Joel and Caleb, chosen for the honor from among the most apt and studious of their race; the first Indians in America to matriculate at an English college. In order to do so they passed an examination including among other accomplishments "so much Latin as was sufficient to understand Tully or any like Classical author, and to make and speak true Latin, in prose and verse, and so much Greek as was included in defining perfectly the paradigms of the Greek nouns and verbs."

 

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The student Caleb was son of Cheschachaamog, sachem of Holmes Hole, a district now embraced within the beautiful and more euphoni­ously named town of Vineyard Haven. He was destined to be the only Indian to climb the long road from barbarism to the bachelor's degree at Harvard. "At the conclusion of two Latin and Greek elegies which he composed on the death of an eminent minister, he subscribes himself Cheesecaumuk, Senior Sophista. What an incon­gruous blending of sounds!"

At the close of the collegiate year in which this triumph of learning was profounded, Caleb took his degree with the class of 1665. His name appears in the catalogue of New England's oldest institution of higher learning as Caleb Cheeshahteaumuck, Indus. Included in the class of seven members is the son of Governor Thomas Dudley-the Honorable Joseph Dudley, President of the Council of the Massachu­setts Bay, Chief Justice of the Province of New England, Chief Justice of the Province of New York, Lieutenant-Governor of the Isle of Wight, Member of Parliament, President of New England, Captain­General and Governor of Massachusetts, and a Commissioner of the United Colonies. Such was Harvard College!

The career of Caleb was unfortunately terminated by his death of consumption at Charlestown, where he had been placed under the care of a physician in order to regain his health. "He wanted not for the best means the country could afford, both of good and physick; but God denied the blessing, and put a period to his days."

Joel, the other of the two Indians to enter the college at Cam­bridge, was an especially "hopefull" young man and is said to have made "good proficiency" in his studies. Being ripe in learning he was about to take his first degree of bachelor of arts when he took voyage to Martha's Vineyard in a bark to visit his father and kindred. On his return, the vessel with other passengers and mariners suffered shi  wreck on the shores of Nantucket. The bark was found and it w

believed that its passengers reached shore safely to be murdered "b: some wicked Indians of that place; who, for lucre of the spoil in th vessel, which was laden with goods, thus cruelly destroyed the peopl, in it; for which fault some of those Indians was convicted and execute. afterwards," informs Gookin.

"Thus perished our hopeful young prophet Joel. He was a goOl scholar and a pious man, as I judge," continues our authority, "I

 

 

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knew him well; for he lived and was taught in the same town where I dwell. I observed him for several years, after he was grown to years of discretion, to be not only a diligent student, but an attentive hearer of God's word; diligently writing the sermons, and frequenting lec­tures; grave and sober in his conversation."

Meantime the friends of Indian education had induced the English society to erect a brick building at Harvai"d for the use of the natives, called the Indian College, of sufficient size to accommodate about twenty scholars. In a letter to the society the commissioners estimated the cost of such a structure at a hundred pounds, being desirous that "the building may bee stronge and durable though plaine." They were authorized to proceed with the erection of the same; "which Rome [room] may bee two storyes high and built plaine but strong and dur­able the charge not to exceed one hundred and twenty pounds besides glasse which may bee allowed out of pcell tile Corporation hath lately sent ouer vpon the Indian account."

According to Gookin the building was constructed of brick, fitted with convenient lodgings and studies. As is customarily the case, its ultimate cost exceeded the original estimate and ran between three and four hundred pounds. The edifice failed of the purpose for which it was designed. Weare told that "There was much cost out of the Corporation stock expended in this work, for fitting and preparing the Indian youth to be learned and able preachers unto their countrymen. Their diet, apparel, books, and schooling, was chargeable. In truth, me design was prudent, noble, and good; but it -proved ineffectual to the ends proposed. For several of the said youth died, after they had been sundry years at learning, and made good proficiency therein; Others were disheartened and left learning, after they were almost ready for the college. And some returned to live among their country­men; where some of them are improved for schoolmasters and teach  ers, unto which they are advantaged by their education."

It cannot be said of the experiment that ,it was a total failure. Although the primitive savage was not qualified by constitution, men­<aIity or temperament to cope with the arduous and confining labors of scholastic life, numbers of them trained in the Latin school went back ro their people and performed good work as teachers and preachers. The scholars attending these schools appear to have been an orderly, conscientious, and sincere group of young men. They were of reli­-

 

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gious temperament and impelled by good motives, but generations simple life had not fitted them for the mental rigors of the studel lamp. So ended a great experiment in education. Thirty-one ye after the landing of Winthrop and his colonists at Boston with

charter of the Bay Colony, a college was founded for the Ind scholar on the frontier of civilization. The charge cannot be m that effort was not made to give the red man the opportunities of

white man's civilization.

The halls of the college at Cambridge. resounded no more to tread of the Indian; his fading footsteps echoed into the stilly silenc, forces that have spent their strength, and in each feebler resonance dream of his preceptors for a college-bred ministry of native preacl flickered into the void of broken hopes.

The missionaries were handicapped now by the tumult rai

among the "vulgar" who were not in sympathy with any efforl raise the standards of the Indian. Much stress was laid on the im) priety of herding the Indian youth into four walled rooms, where constitution was sapped of its strength. The death of Caleb by I sumption was cited as an example of a white man's disease upo body accustomed to the lusty outdoors.

In these charges there was truth, but the situation was nol extreme. Contrary to popular information, consumption was a ( mon disease among the Indians, and its ravages, then and since, car be contributed solely to a change of living conditions brought abou the white man's civilization.

                "Of this disease of the consumption," remarks Gookin, "sundr

those Indian youths died, that ,were bred up to school among the I lish. The truth is, this disease is frequent among the Indians; sundry died of it, that live not with the English. A hectick fe issuing in a consumption, is a co on and mortal disease am them."

General Lincoln, in his "Observations on the Indians of North America" ads, "Their tender lungs are greatly affected by colds, w;

bring on consumptive habits; from which disorder, if my information is right, a large proportion of them die."

The strength of the Indian was a peculiar phenomenon. He at home in the water, and on land his dog trot would carry him' no apparent effort over miles of territory which was the awe of

 

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European. But his physique was a brittle thing. In sustained manual labor the Indian was found worthless, and this alone saved him from me fate that was soon to become the negro's.

Three hundred years have not changed him greatly. Lack of initiative and inability of sustained effort is still the handicap of his race. Receiving his education, his clothes, and food from the govern­ment, he returns to a life that is neither ours nor that of his fathers. He fears to strike out to the great cities, but prefers to eke a living on reservation lands. Although opportunity is as open to him as to any European immigrant, he lives in obscurity, cursing the government dlat aids him, while descendants of immigrants become bankers and Jawyers and merchants. The barbaric negro in less time is self­sustaining. The sin cannot be all the white man's blame.

There are critics who charge the missionaries with all the ills of Indian life, as well as those of the savages of the South Pacific islands Ed elsewhere. The missionaries should stay at home and mind the 1ins of their own race, is the well-known cry. The r ason for the mis­tionary is simple, notwithstanding the writings of some pseudo psycho­ ical-biographers in the field of religious history.

It was, and still is to a certain extent, a concept of Christianity that die soul of man is forever doomed unless he accepts before death the zachings of the One who died on the Cross at Calvary. Souls living ia far away corners of the earth who had never heard His name were =nomed to eternal torment. It was a sad and harsh picture that was add of the great Father of us all, but so man read in the blessed Book md believed. And how could the heathen be saved who had never  rd the message, good men asked one another, unless Christians ;;:'1veled the sands and mountains of far away places and brought salva­0iIIIl to souls dying for water in the waste places of earth? It was the :Mistian's duty. Noblesse oblige! And so upon the face of the ::z.rth swarmed men and women, carrying the gospel of the faith into CR:ry corner and nook of the known world.

Militant soldiers of the cross, in their souls burned a deep desire to .id: the heathen on Friday, to baptize the infant and to bring all before 3It golden throne upon the great day of judgment-saved, even  nst their will! Superficially at times their tactics and their rituals :=Ye seemed not far removed from the black paint, the gibberish, and ::2Ie howlings of the Indian powwow. But at heart there was a dif­

 

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ference. A brilliant fire burned in their souls. For their God they suffered indescribable pains, fatigues, disease, and death. Into the unforged trails of the wilderness they went, black robed Jesuits, eating the nauseating food of the Indians and lifting high their robes that they might not overturn canoes getting in and out, as thoughtfully they had been instructed; far into China, penetrating the jungles of Africa, Protestants and Catholics, the banner they carried, with medicine, law, order, and good government.

And small minded men, for a moment detracted from the material things of life, have sneered at their efforts and accentuated their errors. Authors with figments of imagination that might better be devoted to a nobler cause have pictured the idyllic life lead by any number of primitive peoples until the missionaries came, reputedly bringing with them all the horrors of civilization, the Bible, the Constitution, the army and the navy.

The ancestry of   this school may be traced to Rousseau. The fable of the natural man that so pleased an overly sophisticated world in the eighteenth century has long ago been exploded.

In America is heard the cry, the white man spoiled the Indian with his teachings. And in the distance resounds another charge, the white man has failed to teach the Indian and to do his duty towards him.

The missionary is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. And popular opinion, like the poet's well regulated stream, flows on forever.

 

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CHAPTER XIII

 

THE DUKE OF YORK

After the return of Governor Nicolls to England, matters drifted along at the islands of the Mayhew proprietary in bucolic fashion, the inhabitants undisturbed by great events abroad, until a shipwreck brought to a focus the undesired attention of the successor of Nicolls at New York.

The new governor was another ducal favorite, Colonel Francis Lovelace, a cavalier of the court of Charles II. Intelligence of the wreck reaching his ear, Lovelace, after a silence of more than a year and a half since his arrival at New York, addressed a letter to the patentee of Martha's Vineyard, in which he reiterated the duke's claim to the islaJ!ds that lay two hundred miles from the capital.   .

Respecting the wreck driven on "shoare at Matyns Vyneyard with­out any man left aliue in her" (although fortunately forty hogsheads of rum w.ere saved) , Lovelace comments that he had hitherto fore expected an account of the wreck and what had been done in dIe premises, especially, one gathers, with the liquor, which had a great value.

Adds he, "As my Predecessor CoIl Nicolls did often expect you here, but had his Expectation frustrated by yor age or Indisposition I haue the same _desire, or at least that amongst yor Plantation, you would depute some pson to me to give me Account of Affaires there, That being undr the same Govemmt belonging to his Royall High­nesse I may be in a bettr Capacity of giving you such Advice & assist­ance as need shall require & send his Royall Highnesse a more Exact Account of you then as yett I can, you being the greatest Strangrs to me in the whole Governmt. So expecting a speedy a Retome from you in Answr hereunto as can be I comitt you to the heavenly protection & remayne."

Mayhew, always deliberate in his actions, awaited a number of­

months before sending his grandson Matthew to New York with a reply. John Gardner, of Nantucket, wrote that the letter "was so far slighted as to take no notice of it," but it is probable Mayhew was awaiting the end of winter before sending a messenger on the long journey to "York."

 

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The claims of Thomas Mayhew to the islands of Martha's Vine­yard and Nantucket were presented by young Matthew to the Gov­ernor in Council at N ew York the May following the receipt of the Lovelace letter. After the hea ing it was ordered by the council that a letter be sent to the senior Mayhew requesting him to appear in person before them to adjust the relations of his islands to the gov­ernment of N ew York; and that he bring with him his patents and papers.

You may please to take your best time in coming this summer, in substance writes the amiable Lovelace, as you shall find yourself dis­posed, and shall receive a very hearty welcome and aU due encourage­ment as to your concerns.

Copies of a notice addressed",. to all "pretenders" laying claim to any interest in lands on Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and the Eliza­beth Islands were enclosed in the letter.

These were duly distributed to the several landholders, including a number of residents in Massachusetts and elsewhere. Communication between the scattered settlements of New England was uncertain and irregular in the third quarter of the seventeenth century. The absentee landlords were widely scattered over a number of colonies-Massa­chusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Plymouth, and Rhode Island. Something like a year elapsed before all were heard from.

Meantime the inhabitants of the town on Nantucket met and elected Mr. Thomas Macy their agent to present their claims and to "treat" with the ducal governor. The town also desired Mr. Tris­tram Coffin to assist Mr. Macy in his task. Coffin had previously been chosen by his family to represent their great interests on Nantucket and their entire ownership of the island of Tuckernuck. Daniel Wil­cox, of New Plymouth Colony, possessing two small islands in the Elizabeth group by virtue of a "Patent' of Right from Mr Thomas Mayhew and Matthew Mayhew of Martins Vineyard," had early appointed Matthew to appear on his behalf and to act therein "as if I myselfe were there."

In the summer of 167 I all was ready for the conference with Love. -lace at Manhattan. Armed with his patents and papers and Indian deeds, Thomas Mayhew, now seventy-eight years of age, set sail fr'om Great Harbor in the month of June accompanied by his grandson, -Matthew, who was to represent the proprietary interests of the younger Thomas Mayhew, deceased.

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Another crisis had come in the life of the merchant-colonist. At an age when the average man is content to mark time and gaze back­ward, he was on his way to N ew York for still greater honors.

From Nantucket went Tristram Coffin and Thomas Macy, the one representing the House of Coffin, the other "ye inhabitants" of the town of Nantucket.

At Martha's Vineyard and Nantueket all eyes turned westward where the embarked agents had gone "in their Behalfe and Stead" to "Treat w'th ye Hon'ble ColI. Lovelace-.concerning ye Affayres of the several islands."

As the envoys neared the little fort on the Bowling Green they must have wondered how the cavalier governor in all the scintillating splendor of his great office would greet the planters of the islands claimed by his Royal Highness, James, future King of England, after so many years of waiting.

The fort which they saw at the tip of Manhattan Island in "New Yorke town   was quadrangle in shape, and had a bastion at each corner; its earthen parapets frowned over the waters of the Hudson River and the Upper Bay. An ancient fort.as forts went in America in that day, it had witnessed and was to see, considerable history of a bloodless sort. This ideahtate of affairs was due to no good fortune of peace, but instead to the fact that as the fort was chronically in a state of disrepair, it was always good policy to surrender it whenever the warships of a belligerent nation hove to in'a menacing manner, and so "demanded. '"

"Forte James" was built under the nomenclature of Fort Amster­dam by the officers of the Dutch West Indies Company and was well armed  with iron cannon and some few small brass pieces, all bearing the arms of the Netherlands. It was the social and military center of both the city and the colony under the Dutch and English, as well as the seat of governmental activity.

Within its walls towered the church of St!Nicholas with its steep double-pointed roof. The Dutch, with their love of utilization of space, had further encroached the limited area -of the interior with a windmill, guardhouse, barracks, and a pretentious governor's mansion. Outside the battlements on the river side were gallows and a whipping post. A distance off in the other direction stood the ancient Stadt Huys of the Dutch, which did duty under English administration as

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the capitol house of the province, where the governor and council and the royal cnurts convened in sessions.

As the island envoys neared the scene of their intended conferences they saw the ensign of England flapping in the breeze from the flag pole in the fort and noted the long arms of the Dutch windmill turning lazily before the breeze and viewed with uncertain emotions the spectacle of gallows  nd whipping post, eloquently silent testimony of the law's eternal vigilance.

It is probable that the Mayhews, Coffin and Macy were enter­tained in the governor's house within the fort, and took occasion in hours not devoted to business to look at the Bowling Green and the Battery. To see New York took but little time in those days and necessitated the use of no guide book or personally conducted tour. There was no Chinatown. The city itself was wedged in between the waters on three sides and the wall which gave present Wall Street its name, on the fourth. It was a small village of quaint houses populated with a heterogeneous collection of Dutch burghers, English merchants, and officials, all living in peace and harmony and intent on the mutual object of fattening their fortunes in trade.

The social life of the little city centered around the amiable gov­ernor's elegant mansion and the tavern which he had judiciously erected next the Province House, with a door that afforded convenient access (some say by bridge) to the court room on the second floor, a door that was a constant gates-ajar invitation to the honorable mayor, aldermen, and sheriff of the city to step into the taproom beyond, there to gain inspiration before, and solace after, sessions of court.

The Province House itself was a quaint inheritance from the Dutch regime in days when New York was New Amsterdam. It stood some distance from the fort with its back to the East River, the wash of whose changing tides might plainly be heard within its walls. In Lovelace's day its face was the west side, its stoop opening onto Dukes Street, the original H oogh Straet of the Dutch, known to the present generation as Stone Street. A lane by one side connected the street with the open stretch to the rear of the building that bordered on the water. This was called by the English, State House Lane. The house itself was a substantial edifice of stone, two stories in height with a basement underneath and spacious lofts above under its steeply pitched roof.

 

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In this house were held the formal sessions of the Governor in Council with the emissaries from Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.

The Mayhews appear to have arrived in N ew York a fortnight before the stated meeting of the Governor and Council in the matter of Martha's Vineyard. The first of the official conferences apper­taining to island affairs was convened the twenty-eighth of June. "The Matt. under Consideracon was the Business of N antuckett; two Per­sons being sent from thence hither." Tristram Coffin and Thomas Macy, the "two Persons" designated, produced documents from Thomas Mayhew and the Indians to make good their claim of title to Nantucket and adjoining islands and tendered "some Proposalls in Writing" for the scheme of government to be established thereat.

It may be supposed that the proposals were drawn with the advice or consent of the Mayhews as their influence upon the island at that time was considerable. They owned an interest in the proprietary as well as a tract in severalty.

The plan of government proposed by the emissaries had no doubt been submitted to the unofficial scrutiny of the governor and province secretary, if in fact it did not originate largely from that source. It embraced a comprehensive scheme of government, providing for a court of magistrates to be presided over by one "to be Chiefe," and the establishment of an annual General Court for all the islands to be composed of judges from Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket. It was further proposed that the Indians of Nantucket should be made sub­ject to judicial process in "Matt"" of Trespass, Debt, & other Mis­carriages"; that the laws of England should prevail in all matters "soe farre as wee know them"; and lastly that a military establishment for defense against the Indians or "Strang'" invadeing" should be authorized.

On the day the memorial was submitted, the governor was ready with a reply "In Answer to ye Proposalls Delivered in by Mr Coffin and Mr Macy & on l' behalfe of themselves & l' rest of l' Inhabi­tants upon y. Island of Nantuckett."

The reply provided for- a frame of government substantially as requested. A chief magistrate was to be 'appointed annually by the governor-general from two nominees recommended by the electors of Nantucket and Tuckernuck. The inhabitants were to have power by a majority vote to elect assistant judges, constables, minor town officers.

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and such inferior officers for the military company as should be thought needful.

The inhabitants W6re left a liberal discretion in the handling of Indian affairs, although warned to be "carefull to use such Moderacon amongst them, That they be not exasperated, but by Degrees may be brought to conformable to y. Lawes." They were empowered to nominate and appoint constables among them who were to have staves with the King's Arms upon them, "the better to keep their People in Awe, & good Ordr; as is practized wth good Success amongst y" Indyans at y. East end of Long-Island."

Tristram Coffin was commissioned chief magistrate of Nantucket and Tuckernuck Islands for a term of office extending something beyond one year.

A week later came the "Affayre about Martins Vineyard." This conference was held in the Province House, where once the painted coat-of-arms of New Amsterdam, together with the orange, blue, and white colors of the West Indies Company, had hung over the justices' bench.

In the dim room the ducal governor, Francis Lovelace, was, of course, the dominating figure on that summer's day when the first meet­ing was scheduled. The second son of an English baron, he is described as a roystering cavalier of the Restoration, a fitting representative of the "Merrie Monarch" and his brother James. Notwithstanding his Stuart partisanism and the fact that before the Restoration he had languished a term in the Tower by order of Richard Cromwell, he appears to have been a genial and kindly soul to English Protestant and Dutch burgher alike.

Unfortunately for the fame of this governor, his character has been epitomized in a statement attributed to him relative to the rebel­lious Swedish farmers on the Delaware, 'that "the method of keeping the people in order is severity and laying such taxes as may give them liberty for no thought but how to discharge them." In his defense it is alleged that the remark was a mere quotation on his part of what a Swede had once said to him of his own people. It can be imagined best of Lovelace that the remark was uttered with all the amiability with which he was endowed.

                Nevertheless, the cavalier governor was much that in habit and religion was diametric to the Puritan Mayhew.

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zMatthias Nicolls was the second man of importance in the room. Bred a barrister at Lincoln's Inn, he received from the King an appointment as secretary of the royal commission sent to America and at the same time a commission as captain in the forces under Colonel Richard Nicolls. After the peaceful capitulation of New Amsterdam, in which he participated, Captain Nicolls became the first secretary of the English province and a member of the Governor's Council.

The first code of English laws in New York was largely the fruit of his drafting. It was a just and liberal body of laws. Qualified by legal training, the author held several judicial posts. He was presiding judge of the Court of Assizes and after the conference wasjudge of the Supreme Court. He was also an early mayor of New York City. He was without doubt the best educated and one of the most capable Brit­ish officials in America.

The third member of the governor's staff present at the confer­ence was Cornelius Steenwyck, a former burgomaster of New Amster­dam. His blood antecedents were as clear of definition as his name, but his political fealty less certain. He was a prominent officeh lder under both Dutch and English administrations, willing to lend his name to the Dutch civil list when the colony was New Netherlands and to the English when it was N ew York, and back again with alacrity to the Dutch when the province was recaptured by Calve two years to the month after the conference. Steenwyck was an enormously wealthy merchant, and what is popularly termed a "mixer."

On the opposite side of the table sat the Puritan, Thomas Mayhew, already famed at home and in the mother country as a successful mis­sionary to the Indians of New England. By his side sat Matthew, his eldest grandson, a promising youth of twenty-three years of age, later author of "The Conquests and Triumphs of Grace," a tract describing the Indians of New England and the success of the gospel among them.

What took place during the stay of the Vineyard delegates at York and the conference that concluded their labors, Thomas Mayhew himself describes. He states that he showed the governor his grants, which the governor approved, "and the printed paper" from his Majesty, at which Lovelace "stumbled much," also he showed the ducal representative what General Nicolls had written of his not being informed what the King had done, to which the governor "stumbled

 

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very much likewise"; then he asked if the colonel had Stirling's patent with him, to which the colonel gave answer in the negative, whereupon Mayhew went to Captain Nicolls and acquainted him of his "dis­course" with the governor and "prayed him to search in Matters of Long Island" to see if he could not find the date of Lord Stirling's patent to the islands. This Nicolls did, finding it more ancient than the Gorges patent. .

But Mayhew questioned whether it were safe for him to "medle" or declare the Gorges government. The royal weathercock at Wind­sor had spun so many times, there was no telling how it would spin again. It was, therefore, agreed between His Honor Francis Love­lace and Thomas Mayhew that the latter should be granted a new "Charter and Liberties" to the islands, grounded on his first grant from Lord Stirling and the "Resignation of L'd Sterling's Heirs to his Royall Highness," and that Mayhew should pay an acknowledgment to the Duke which under the grant from Forrett he was obligated to pay yearly tq Lord Stirling.

Thus the patentee of the islands was confirmed in his title by the weakest of all claims, the grant from Lord Stirling. It has been aptly stated that "Loyal subjects were expected to give way and vacate the 'king row.' "

The time which Mayhew took before acknowledging the Duke's authority is evidence of no supine surrender. Writing in regard to the search in matters of Long Island conducted by Matthias Nicolls, he says, had the date of Stirling's patent been not found, then "I could doe nothing at Yorke." He had not been ready to acknowledge ducal claims upon terms other than favorable. This stand was made secure by the King's attitude in both confirming the islands most strongly to be in Gorges and in granting them to his brother. Whichever way the conflict was resolved, Thomas Mayhew could find royal support in extenuation of his conduct.

A number of other important matters were decided at the con­ference. Most noteworthy was the appointment of Thomas Mayhew to be governor of the island of Martha's Vineyard for life:

Whereas Mr Thomas Mayhew of Martins or Martha's Vineyard hath been an auncient Inhabitant there, where by Gods Blessing Hee hath been an Instrumt. of doeing a greate deale of Good both in set­tling severall Plantacons there, as also in reclayming & Civilizing y.

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Indyans; ffor an Encouragement to him in prosecucon of that Designe, & in acknowledgmt of his Good Services, It is Ordere( l & Agreed upon Thatf said Mr Thomas Mayhew shall dureing his naturall Life bee Governor of l' Island called Martins or Marthas Vineyard. . . . .

A commission to Matthew Mayhew as Collector and Receiver of his Majesty's customs "as now are or shall bee brought into l' Har­bour at Martins Vineyard, or any other-Creek or Place upon l' Island, or Jurisdiction thereof" was also executed.

The "townes Seated" on the Vineyard were granted new charters of confirmation. In the baptism Great Harbor emerged as Edgar­town, in honor of the Duke's infant son Edgar, the news of whose death had not reached America. Great Harbor became another of those many communities that bear the name of some petty princeling tacked to the unimaginative and generic term, town, ville, or burg. Distinc­tion lies in the fact that it is the only town so named in the world.

Middletown was more fortunate in choice of names, and received that of Tisbury in honor of the little Wiltshire village where Thomas Mayhew was born.

A government for the towns and the island was discussed and decided. The towns were to have such elected magistrates and officers as other "corporations" in the province. For the jurisdiction of Mar­tha's Vineyard island a local court was provided, to consist of Thomas Mayhew and three assistants; the governor to have a double vote as presiding officer, a power not granted the chief magistrate of the local court at Nantucket.

Minor changes were made in the framework of the General Court

established during the conference with the Nantucket delegates. It was determined that the members of this court should be the governor of Martha's Vineyard and four assistants, two from each island. In deference to the great experience and reputation of Thomas Mayhew it was ordered that he should sit as president during his life whenever the court was in session, whether at Martha's Vineyard or Nantucket, with the privilege of a double or casting vote.

The plan of government conceived for Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket was part of the ducal scheme for a strong government in places where the central power was far removed. "No such strong and yet liberal scheme of vice-regal government was established under the British flag for many a year."

 

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The conference closed the history of the colony of Martha's Vine­yard and Nantucket as an independent entity. For thirty years the islands had been. ruled by the proprietor independent of higher suzerainty. .But Mayhew lost little by the change. His powers and prestige, supported now by a closer alliance with royal authority, were in fact increased rather than diminished.

The government of the islands was still a government under Mayhew's supervision, only henceforth to be subject to the oversight of a governor-general at New York. Laws were now to be made by Thomas Mayhew as governor, with the aid of assistants, instead of by the "patentee" or "the single person."

Other matters at the conference were determined which were not of political import. The influence of Thomas Mayhew directed the flow of thought into Indian channels. Even in this day while honors were being thrust upon him, he tl1ought of the humble Indian and the work of the propagation of the gospel among them, which had been the lifework of his son who had not lived to share the honors now . freely bestowed.

The pregnant move of the conference in this respect was the appointment of Thomas Mayhew "too bee Governor. over y. Indians upon Martin's Vineyard." He was authorized to "follow ye same way and Course of quiet & peaceable Governmt amongst them as hitherto hee hath done, web will tend to their mutuall Benefitt and Sat­isfaction, and by Degrees bring them to Submit to, & acknowledge his Mati.. Lawes Establisht by his Royall Highness in this Province."

Further Governor Mayhew was ordered: "Y ouare to cause some of y" Principall Sachems tocrepaire (as speedily as They can) to mee, that soe They may pay their homage to his Mati., & acknowldge his Royall Hso to bee their only Lord Proprietor."

It was a well tamed savage that the ducal governor expected to come to him at York, three hundred miles by water, to pay homage to a Scotch-French-Italian-Danish King across the sea.

Lovelace was not much interested in the spiritual or material well being of the untutorea savage, ]Jut he was an amiable man and willin  to assist the Puritan Mayhew in anything that would cost the Duke of York and Albany, and etc., no extra penny.

In response to request he even addressed a letter to Governor

 

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Prince recommending that official to use his influence in obtaining added financial assistance for Mayhew' as a missionary to the Indians.

A unique feature.of the conference was the grant to Thomas May­hew and his grandson of a charter creating a manor out of parcels of territory within the present bounds of Chilmark, Tisbury, and the Elizabeth Islands.

At the quiet Vineyarg re ppeared one of the" oldest of English social institutions. The  ind-swept moors, the occasional parks of forests, the green meadows, sheep pastures, and plough lands of the island, dotted plentifully with great lagoons and smooth flowing streams, like the famed waterways of old England, lent themselves geographically to the English manor and countryside.

In the course of time, the island with its quaint milrs, two-storied houses, miles of fencing and herds of sheep, became a transplanted bit of the home country where lords and squires and landowners ruled fertile acres and sat as justices of the peace at shIre courts.

Thomas M:iyhew was of ancient years. He "had risen to a unique position among his colonial confreres," says the island historian. Doubtless his thoughts harked back to the place of his birth and the scenes of his childhood, and the recollections, of Tisbury with its manor aroused in him a desire to become the head of a like social institution, the first of a line of Lords of the Manor in another Tisbury. He had recollected the Arundels of Ward our, the hereditary Lordscof Tisbury Manor in Wiltshire, living but a short distance from his boyhood home, and the grandeur of their position, holding do.minion over their broad acres, With tenants filling the manor barn every harvest, as acknowledg­ments of their fealty, in lieu of knightly service; and having already had a taste of the headship ofa community for many years. . . . he now wanted the legitimate fruit of his position madedistinctiv:e."

Mayhew was ambitious to establish on the Vineyard the good old customs of Merrie England with its armorial gentry and leading fami­lies of the shire, but too, he sawin the feudal government of the manor

a means whereby he might exercise untrammeled. administration over Indian tenants without the interference of -jealous and encroaching Englishmen.

The Manor of Tisbury was the only fully established manor erected within the confines of New Englandi save the' Lordship of Martha's Vineyard created by a later governor of :New York in favor of Matthew Mayhew.

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The manor is an estate in land to which is incident certain rights. Blackstone tells us that manors were held by lords or great personages who kept in their own hands so much land as was necessary for the use of their families, which was called demesne lands, being occupied by the lord and his servants. The other or tenemental lands were dis­tributed among tenants, which from the different modes of tenure were called and distinguished by different names.

The proprietor of a manor is a feudal lord, known in the old feudal system as a minor baron, in contradistinction of the great barons who possessed a number of manors grouped into a lordship called an Honor. In the course of time the great barons were patented with titles by the kings, and out of this practice grew the present peerage or titled nobility. The lesser barons continued to be members of the untitled nobility. Although they could and may rightfully follow their names with the appendage "Lord of the Manor," they are not privileged to use the title "Lord" as a prefix.

Generally speaking the peerage is todaY' considered the nobility of England. That nation has always been jealous of the dignity of the members of her upper class and their ability to maintain their posi­tions in proper style, consequently she is not prone to recognize the members of the untitled nobility as anything more than gentry. Strictly speaking, however, any person entitled to coat armour is a member of the nobility. In many localities on the Continent all the sons of a feudal lordship retain their membership in the nobility and bear the title of their ancestor, even unto the ultimate generation. This accounts for the great number of impecunious Counts to be found in some Latin countries, and by marriage in American families.

With the growth of the peerage in England and the ennoblement of the great barons, manors ceased to be .called baronies, although they are still lordships.

The highest privilege appurtenant to manorial lordship was that of holding private or domestic courts. At these courts the feudatory or his steward sat as judge. Customarily the courts were two in classi­fication, called Court Baron and Court Leet. At Court Baron mat­ters pertaining to the lands of the tenants were heard, disputes as to ownership of properties and rights of commonage adjusted, alienations of land recorded, and new tenants and heirs placed in possession, regu­lations and by-laws concerning the upkeep of fences, roads, and other

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matters relating to the farming of the manor lands, passed. Jurisdic­tion also extended in actions for debt and damages in limited sums.

The Court Leet was a criminal court exercising the King's jurisdic­tion in the punishment of minor infringements of law not grave enough to be brought to the attention of the royal courts of the district. At the Leets scolds were fined for annoying neighbors, millers for taking excessive toll of tenants, and brewers for making flat- beer. Petty offenses against the customs of the manor, such as bad ploughing, improper taking of timber from the lord's woods, and the like, were heard. This tribunal was the police court of the manor.

At these courts the tenants played an important role. Aside the presiding officer of the court and the bailiff who represented the lord as public prosecutor, the generality of the officers of the manor and court were elected by the tenants from their own ranks. Among these officials were the reeve, the tithing-man or constable, surveyors of hedges, ditches, and waterways, the swineherd, and the cowherd.

It has been pointed out that the appellation of many municipal offi­cers in English towns are carried back in their origin to the agricultural and manorial officers of early days.

Traces of these officials are found in the records of New England towns, where tithing-men, constables, fenc'e viewers, surveyors of,high­ways, surveyors of lumber, hog reeves, field drivers, and poundkeepers were annually chosen in town meeting, much as their prototypes were in the manor courts of the mother country.

Manorial lands in the seventeenth century were customarily held by either copyhold tenure or in fee. The copyhold tenant held land by grants recorded in the books of the manor, which did not descend to the heirs by law. Copyhold tenants were not>freemen. They consti­tuted the peasantry of the country.

Lands in fee were held by freemen. These constituted a smaller

and more important class in the manor. Unlike the copyhold tenant, the freeman was not bound to the soil and owed the lord no menial service upon the lord's lands as rent service, but was 'quit of all obliga­tions by the payment of a small rent in money, called quit-rent, or some inexpensive trifle. The freemen of manors were customarily yeomen, but they might also be gentlemen and maintain seats, whose lands would be farmed by servants of their own.

Although a number of attempts were made to transplant the feudal

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system to. America, in but few pravinces did the manar became an institutian. Nawherec:in the New Warld did it functian mare nar­mally than in New Yark. Manars were early erected in Maryland, where priar to. 1676 about sixty were in existence, each cantaining an average af appraximately three thausand acres. In N arth Carolina an elaborate feudal system af government was warked out by the philosopher John I::ocke, wherein provision was made that tracts of land of more than three thousand acres might be erected into manors by special patent. In colonizing Pennsylvania the Proprietary divided the lands af that colany into. manars, but these, held by the Penn family, were hardly mare than manars in name. Wealthy landed praprietars owned tracts af baranial dimensions in same af the other colonies, notably Virginia, and rented farms to tenants, but these pos­sessians were not manars in law and anly so called by the self-endowed courtesy af the awners.

The manars of New Yark were of enormaus acreage. Cortlandt Manar contained eighty-three thousand acres, and Livingston ane hun­dred and twenty thousand acres. Tisbury, itself containing many square miles af land, was ane af the earliest established in the pravince.

The manariallards of New Yark were men powerful in the social and political histary of the Colony and State, and have left an impress in bath local and national spheres.

Feudalism in America was destined to be a failure notwithstanding traces of it lingered in varied form until many years after the Ameri­can Revalutian. The anti-rent riats af New Yark, which broke aut in 1839 when the executars af the estate af Stephen Van Rensselaer attempted to. callect back quit-rents, resulted in the last stand of feudal­ism. The great Van Rensselaer manar had to. this day remained intact,

but thereafter it was largely saId to. thedissatis/ied tenants who., with their fathers, had so. many years tilled the sail af a lard.

At Martha's Vineyard feudalism lived a healthy existence for sixty-nine years until the death af Matthew Mayhew in 1710; there­after it lead a precariaus life until with the Revalutian it passed into. ablivian. In 1776, Captain Matthew Mayhew, of Edgartawn, last af the Mayhew lards of Tisbury, accepted a cammissian as cammander af af a camp any in the Dukes County Regiment af Militia an the side af the struggling colanists.

The Rev. Experience Mayhew, as late as 1756, is known to. have

 

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laid claim to rights as a Lord Proprietor, perhaps in descent from Thomas Mayhew as patentee of Martha's Vineyard, and not as an heir of the family manor. Others of the family made similar claims. As late as 1838 Judge William Mayhew, of Edgartown, as senior heir of the first Thomas Mayhew in the eldest male line, conveyed his inter­est in the Gravelly Islands, and in the year fol1owing, his interest in Muskeget Island, to his son Thomas. .

During the lifetime of the governor parts of Tisbury Manor were fenced and a number of tracts of land sold. These were conveyed subject to a nominal quit-rent to reserve the lords' jurisdiction. The governor's grandsons, Thomas and John Mayhew, were purchasers in the Quansoo region, and John Haynes, of Rhode Island, bought land at the Elizabeth Islands, for which he agreed to pay a quit-rent of "2 good sheep at the Manor House on November 15th yearly and every year."

After the death of the elder Mayhew, Matthew, as surviving lord

of the manor, kept up the custom of exacting quit-rents in true English style. One holder of land in the manor was obliged to bring annually to the lord "a good chees," another "one nutmeg," and Matthew's "beloved brother John" was under duty to pay one mink skin annually as tribute "at my mannor house in the mannor of Tisbury" on the fif­teenth of November each year.

The lord's brother-in-law, Major Skiffe, held land under a quit-rent of "six peckes of good wheat" annually. "In 1732, Sarah, widow of Thomas Mayhew, III, of Chilmark, in a deed conveying land referred to the "Quitt-rents which shall hereafter become due unto the Lord of the Manner. . . . which is one Lamb." The lord at this time was Micajah Mayhew, of Edgartown, great-great-grandson of the governor. .

Due to the peculiar nature of the manor as a feudal institution, its early settlement was not effected in the customary manner. Home lots were not distributed among the planters, and a town proprietary was not formed until 1695, when Matthew Mayhew, as lord of the manor, created by document a proprietary of thirty shareholders to settle a tract in the manor known as the town of Chilmark. In the oorporation, Matthew kept a controlling interest of eighteen shares, distributing the balance among grantees holding land in the district ;md members of his immediately family, including t1ro sons, a brother, :iIId three brothers-in-law.

 

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After the transfer of Martha's Vineyard to the Province of Mas­sachusetts Bay the status of Chilmark was for many years anomalous due to the fact that it was not incorporated by the General Court of Massachusetts as a town until 1714 when, upon petition of the Rev. Experience Mayhew, acting as "Agent for the Manour of Tisbury," it was ordered that the manor "commonly called Chilmark, have all the Powers of a Town' given and granted them, for the better Manage­ment of their publick affairs, Laying and Collecting of Taxes granted to his Majesty for the Support of the Government, Town charges and other affairs whatsoever, as other Towns in the Province do by Law enjoy." Thereafter the town and manor had a dual existence, although before this a quasi-legal form of town government had been in exist­ence and it had been represented at the General Court as a pocket borough controlled by the Mayhew family.

At the close of the conference with Lovelace, Thomas Mayhew and his grandson returned to the Vineyard, armed, in the language of the elder with "a new Charter and Liberties in it made, grounded upon my First Graunt and the Resignation of L'd Sterling's Heirs to his Royall Highness, &c., thankfully by me accepted there and by all at Home, and also at Nantuckett soe farre as I know."

The conference had been seven years in partuition, but had proved well worth the cost to Mayhew of “29 daies from the Island.” The Lord of the Isles was now governor and Chief Magistrate for life, President of the General Court of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Chief Justice of the courts at Martha’s Vineyard, and Lord of the Manor of Tisbury. In addition to these honors he was eligible to sit as a justice in the General Court of Assizes, the supreme court for all the territories governed by the Duke of York in America.

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CHAPTER XIV

 

THE DUTCH REBELLION

After the arrival home of Thomas Mayhew from the conference with Lovelace he sununoned in convenient time a general meeting of the inhabitants of Martha's Vineyard. Upon this occasion he related the change of island jurisdiction, and had his commission as governor publicly read. He acquainted the sachems and chief men of the Indians of his appointment over them, "which every man accepted of thankfully."

Seizing the enthusiasm of the moment, the newly acclaimed gov­ernor of the Indians spoke of religion. "After much discourse" he put "a vote as to the waie of God and there was not one but helld upp his hand to furthere it to the uttmost. Many of them not p'fessed praying men diverse allso spake verry well to the thing p'pounded. I remem­ber not such an unyversall Consent till now."

                In his new dignity Thomas Mayhew took care to keep up the state

and authority of a royal governor by means of a constant gravity and a wise and exact behavior as' always raised and preserved the Indians' reverence.

Insistence for respect of station is well illustrated by an incident which took place during the visit of an Indian prince, ruler of a large part of the main land, who, coming to Martl,a's Vineyard in royal manner with an attendance of about eighty persons well armed, called at the governor's house. The governor upon entering the room where sat the visiting prince, being acquainted with the Indian custom that as a point of honor it is incumbent upon the inferior to salute the superior, took no notice of the other's presence. A silence ensued which the native chieftain was obliged to break, notwithstanding his kingly retinue, saying at length, "Sacliem, Mr. Mayhew, are you well?" Whereupon the governor gave a friendly reply.

In the inauguration of the duke's government, Mayhew proceeded with customary deliberation. Eleven months elapsed before the Gen­eral Court provided for in the new scheme of government was con­vened by him at Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard, the 18th of June, 1672. The fruits of the first session was a body of just, liberal, and sensible laws.

 

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Thus far the transmutation of government had been effected with­out dissension. But at the second sitting of the General Court, holden at Nantucket the year following, dissatisfaction disclosed itself. The Nantucket judges refused to follow the rules of procedure provided for their guidance at the Lovelace conference. "After very much Debate" the governor and the members of the bench from Martha's Vineyard "came away resolving speedily" to apply to the governor­general for a ruling. For once Thomas Mayhew moved with alacrity

He dispatched Matthew to the capital for the purpose, but Matthew, on his way, was met with the news that New York had been capture< by the Dutch, and returned without completing his journey.

The information that New York had been taken by the Hollander. was seized upon by malcontents residing on both islands as an oppor­tunity to disavow the authority of the duke's government. A numbel of them arose in open rebellion.

The historian of Martha's Vineyard regards this uprising as   .

endeavor upon the part of the freemen to "get rid of hereditary rule] and lords of the manorpof which they supposed their New England 1 be quit." Whatever conjecture may be made as to the cause of di sension, the facts established from contemporary documents circun scribe the issue of the rebellion at Martha's Vineyard to one grievanci According to the tenor of a letter sent by some of "his Majesties sub jects the free -houlders in the two towns setled on Martha's Vineyard' to the Right Worshipful John Leverett, Esq., governor of the Colon] of the Massachusetts Bay, complaint is made solely that the inhabi tants no longer had the "Boston form of government." Reference   not made to manorial privileges, and it may be added that at that time in no document now extant is criticism directed to this form of social

structure. I

There is little likelihood that the relation of the manor at this rim!

to the rest of the island, due to any possible discrimination in taxatioll

could have affected materially the state of mind of the rebellious fre men. At the breaking out of the rebellion, the manor's populatio exclusive of Indians, was limited to one white settler, the Rev. J 01 Mayhew. The manor is mentioned only once in the course of th

rebellion. In a letter to the governor of New York Simon Athea

comments on the fact that a large number of the Indians on the islanc were Mr. Mayhew's tenants.       I

 

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Englishmen of the seventeenth century were accustomed to feudal­ism. It was to them no great bogey. The Puritans did .not entirely cast aside social, even political, distinctions. Far from it, they limited suffrage and office holding to a small select group, and were particu­lar to preserve the hierarchy of rank with special attention to gentlemen

and noblemen. John Haynes, returning to England, was honored with a salute of guns at the Castle in Boston Harbor, he being the son of a Privy Councillor. The young Sir Henry Vane, when but twenty­four years of age and without great experience, was elected Governor of Massachusetts soon after 'his arrival in the country, on account of his impressive bearing and title-and ships in the harbor honored the event with a volley of shot.

The rebellion at Martha's Vineyard may, in part, have been directed against the rule of the Mayhew family and the nepotism that thrived under powers granted the ruling family by the ducal govern­ment. It may be that tIie disaffected inhabitants sought to put to an end the establishment of the House of Mayhew as an hereditary aris­tocracy, and that they rebelled at the existence of a family bench headed by a governor holding office under life tenure, assisted by a grandson,

a son-in-law, and a stepson-in-law as associate justises, and the spectre of manorial lords exacting quit-rents on the fifteenth of each N ovem­ber annually, or any other time. But mainly the freemen chafed because the privilege of representative government in province affairs was not accorded.

While Mayhew was not a staunch advocate of democratic govern­ment of the unheard of twentieth century type and was not imbued with the sophistry that any man is qualified to govern so long as he is elected to office by a majority of equally unqualified citizens, it cannot be said that under the duke's government Mayhew in any way attempted to withhold any privilege from the freemen of the island that was rightfully theirs by law.

  But the people of N ew York, unlike those of New England, had no voice in the general government of the province. A General Court

of Freemen was not in the scheme of government established by the' Duke of York and was denied by him upon several occasions during his proprietorship. Laws of the province were enacted by the gov­ernor-general with the advice of a council largely supine. It was an autocratic government, arbitrary in form, but mild in practice.

 

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But in local affairs the freemen of the Vineyard had a large share of self-government. The members of the Court of Assistants of each island and all the judges of the General Court, save Mayhew, were elected by the freeholders.

Thomas Mayhew, as governor, had no power of veto, only a double or casting vote in Cases of disagreement. With a representative General Court for local concerns, an elective bench, and a right to man­age town affairs, the freemen of Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket had a government that was exceedingly democratic for the century.

But it was not the representative government the freemen of the Vineyard had been accustomed to in Massachusetts. It was not the government providedJor in the Stirling patent, by whose terms many of them had been induced to emigrate from their old homes to the new.' They had seen Mayhew lay claim to certain vested rights supe­rior to theirs under the Stirling patent. Now they saw a further cur­tailment of liberties under the duke's government.

Considerable unrest seems to have existed among some of the free­men on account of the fact that the governor of the island held office under life tenure, although elected executives were not common in the seventeenth century. From various complaints it may be gathered that the malcontents objected to the rule of Thomas Mayhew for the reason that he too keenly championed the cause of the Indians.

In an effort to show that Mayhew held sway over the Vineyard as a petty tryant, Simon Athearn, in a letter to the governor-general, launches into an involved account of several incidents, which from his own recital do not bear the result wished for by him. On one count Athearn complains that Governor Mayhew and his judges allowed an Indian servant belonging to Athearn to return to his family because struck by Athearn after repeated runnings away. Athearn complains that it was an established rule on the island promulgated by the gov­ernor for the protection of the Indians that no master should strike his servant and that if the servant was not willing to abide with the master, the master should let him go. This humane rule was irritat­ing at times to masters dealing with refractory servants. These were not the harsh laws of England to which Englishmen were accustomed, but they were the means of p eventing the servitude of an inferior race and the breeding of ill will towards the English.

In another charge Athearn recounts the tale of an illiterate Eng­

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lishman named Perkins who called an Indian a lying rogue, whereupon the Indian "laid hold with his hand on Perkins his hair and plucked him down and swore he would kill him and called to his fellows for a knife to kill him." Complaining to the governor and Judge Daggett, the Englishman was "much threatened" for his conduct in the matter and talk was made that he ought to be fined for calling the Indian a lying rogue. And, continues, Athearn, .the Indian on the other hand was told "very mildly" that if he carried any stick or weapon in his hand within a certain period of time,he would be fined five pounds.

Athearn claims that bad feeling' existed between Judge Daggett and Perkins, but the ruling of the court appears fair when one bears in mind the primitive psychology of the Indian and the supposed better judgment of the 'Englishman.

It was under laws and rulings such as these that the rebellious free­man of the Vineyard' hafed. Even in the heat of controversy they could think of nothing more disparaging with which to charge Thomas Mayhew thanJriendliness towards the Indians.

MayheW; with painstaking conscientiousness, writes Governor Prince, "Sir, it is so, that my favour unto Indians hath been thought to be overmuch; but I say, my error hath been, in all cases, that I am too favourable to English; and it hath always been very hard for me to preserve myself from being drawn to deal over-hardly with the Indians. "

Legal cause is a desirable attribute with which to bolster any rebel­lion. The disaffected inhabitants of Martha's Vineyard were not long in finding one, even if it was not a good one. They professed to doubt the power of Lovelace to appoint a governor for life for Martha's Vineyard. That Lovelace had power to appoint a governor is indis­putable, and having that power the tenure of his appointee was in no way dependent upon his own. The appointment made by Lovelace was in law the appointment of the Duke of York, and lasted so long as the Duke was proprietary of N ew York or any portion of it.

The malcontents refused to follow this reasoning. They argued that as the ducal authority at the capitol had fallen so had fallen May­hew's life tenure as governor, that aSJhe island had not been formerly within"the jurisdiction of  ew Netherlands and was not comprehended in the revived Dutch provincecestablished by the Hollanders at New York, it was no longer under the Duke's government, but was in a

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A:dds Matthew Mayhew, "about half the People in a Mutinous Manner, arose with many contumelious Words and Threats agai'nst the said Govournour daring him in the Prosecution of his Royall High­ness his Government."

The rebels ignored the logic that might have led them to consider the Duke's government, by his regularly constituted officers, still exist­ant in those parts of .his territories not in possession of the enemy, and that Mayhew's commission to act as governor of the island, originat­ing by allthority of the Duke of York, was not necessarily revoked by the occupation of a part of the Duke's holdings by the Dutch, especially

as the Duke was much alive in England and had not relinquished his proprietary claims. Title to the island had not passed and never did pass to the Dutch; the island itself was never in the possession, actual or constructive, of the Hollap.ders, and the Duke's duly constituted offi­cials on the island were at?tll times present.

The fact that after the surrender of the province by the Dutch to the Duke, the Ki1].g!as a matter of precaution and  upon the advice of constitutional lawyers who, after profound research and argumentation, advised that the doctrine of jus postlimini was not applicable, made a regrant of the province to the Duke, in no way lessens the sins of the rebels to whom the fine point of law involved was as so much Sanskrit. Apparently the English jurists were unacquainted with the fact that Martha's Vineyard and Nantuckethad never been in the possession of the Dutch, or thought the territories too insignificant to wa-rrant a pro­cedure different from that prescribed for the entire province. Be that as it may, the islands were included in the' second grant of the province to the Duke.

Meanwhile the rebel party decided it would better serve its ends to declare that no lawful government existed on the island, and then to remedy the situation by establishing an unauthorized government 'of its own. This conduct was clearly a subterfuge to gain control of island affairs. Like their brethren in Massachusett , tIle rebels were not above a bit of chicanery in their struggle for freedom.

Eegal disputation appears to have been an attribute natural to the Puritan mind. By it they were able to meet on equal ground and checkmate English authority, royal governors, and Parliament, until the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown. British officialdom had to admit that in the practical art of politics they were no match for the

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freemen of New England trained in open town meeting and service in all the offices of government from hog reeve to Speaker of the Colonial A sembly.

Recalling days on the Main, the malcontents at Martha's Vine­yard met and attempted the formation of a rump government pat­terned on the Massachusetts plan of electing the chief magistrate annually, as had been the vogue, with limitations, on the island when Mayhew first set up government at Great Harbor under the Earl of Stirling's patent.

As loyal subjects of the crown and as a matter of cooperative good sense in days of peril and. war, the conduct of the refractory party can­not be upheld. The incongruity of a part of the inhabitants of the island urging that the only government lawfully initiated over them was now without legal efficacy while attempting to set up a government of their own without a scintilla of legal authority, and representing only "about half of the people" is obvious, but the attitude of the island historian is not equally so, who lauds the conduct of the rebels and depicts them as guardians of liberty and democracy. The good judgment of a party crying that they are in need of protection against foreign foe because of weakness in numbers, at the same time conduct­ing a rebellion among themselves that further weakened their powers of defense, is not open to the adulation of posterity.

Although the rebel party was anxious to depose Thomas Mayhew as life governor of the island, they made a gesture of compromise by addressing him a letter wherein they requested him to lay aside volun­tarily his government by commission of the Duke, offering in re@rn to elect him chief magistrate for one year, the choice thereafter to be determined yearly by election.

The reply of Governor Mayhew was "no, he would not, he could not answer it." And, further, he gave them to understand his resolu­tion to hold and defend the islapd until it should be forcibly taken out of his hands. These words from the lips of the eighty-year-old gov­ernor have a virile sound compared with the sanctimonious phrases of the rebels who were continually seeking Divine aid to get them out of their own difficulties.

Thomas Mayhew was not one to treat with rebels in the guise of sturdy yeoman thirsting for free-!!om, while seeking to do away with established government in time of war, bewailing all the while that

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they were "captured" by the Dutch and without government. The nearest conquering Dutchman was miles away and apparently uncon­scious of the Vineyard's existence. Perhaps Mayhew felt it was time enough to surrender when one saw the whites of the enemy's eyes, and not sooner. There was little doubt of his resolution to hold his position.

Following the governor's answer, the rebehparty went into confer­ence: One problem, at least, was solved. It would be unnecessary for them to further dissipate their energies in any attempt to win over the governor to their persuasion.

The next move of the democrats was the preparation of a petition addressed to the governor and assistants of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in which the Massachusetts authorities were beseeched "for the Lords sake" to lend"an ear unto "Gods Covenanting people in this wildernesse" and to afford them protection from domestic and foreign enemies. It is not certain who constituted the domestic enemies, but the inferensc.<is that the petitioners feared the Mayhews as much-as the Dutch. At least the Mayhews were at hand and fear of them had

virtue in fact for the governor had threatened the insurgents with

being made "tratcherous," This was something to fear.

Massachusetts refused to interfere in the plight of the Vineyarders or to be stampeded by any flattering reference to her governor and his court as "the most noble in these parts of Amarika."

Answer was returned by the Court of Assistants of that colony advising the rebels to be "best eased' by their quiet yielding unto their former government and their wholesome laws under which they had so long'lived.

This was a crushing blow to "God's Covenanting people in the wildernesse." But the rebuff could not stop the momentum of the rebellion that had gone so far:      '

The two factions were openly at war. Warrants posted by the official government were tom down and constables sent to serve the governor's writs abused; the rebels "disdaining so much as any inti­mation of Right title of interest from his Royall Highness." When the wife of one of the supporters of the rump government was indicted for forcibly taking a warrant out of the marshal's hands, the opposi­tion became so aroused that they threatened the governor, challenged his family, and shook fists at his retainers. They "managed their pos­

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sessions with such a high hand as to live according to their Profession, by the Sword" and it was only by restraint placed upon the official party by the aged governor that they were dissuaded "from using of the Sword in their Defence."

Young Matthew Mayhew, twenty-six, imbued by birth and service under the crown with the spirit of class distinction, found it hard to restrain his temper as-he strode the streets of Edgartown and was chal­lenged to sword playas one of the family. But the calm good sense of the governor prevailed and the blood of fratricidal war was not shed.

The rebellion and rump government at Martha's Vineyard were short lived. Differences between the English and the Dutch were adjusted at Westminster early in 1674. By terms of treaty New Amsterdam was again surrendered. On the 31st of October a new governor-general in the person of a dashing officer of dragoons, Major Edmund Andros, Seigneur of Sausmarez and Bailiff of the Island of Guernsey, reassumed authority at New York as lieutenant and governor-general to his royal highness James, Duke of York and Albany­

The rebels at Martha's Vineyard awaited the outcome with omi­nous forebodings.

 

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CHAPTER XV

 

THE NANTUCKET INSURRECTION

At Nantucket a corresponding eruption broke out, known to local historians as the Nantucket Insurrection. . The rebellion at this island grew out of causes differing from those at Martha's Vineyard. It was not essentially a dispute between the Mayhew family and the body of freemen. It was primarily a contest between the first purchasers of the island, known as whole-shares men, and subsequent purchasers known as half-shares men.

Before effecting a plantation at Nantucket, the grantees of Thomas Mayhew had each chosen a partner, making twenty proprietors in all, thereafter known as the whole-shares men, from the fact that each owned a whole share in the island proprietary. Being agriculturists, they recognized the necessity of obtaining the services of seamen and tradesmen skilled in the several manual arts. They contracted for the services of additional proprietors to whom were granted limited or half-share rights in the island proprietary. It was not the intent of the original proprietors that the half-shares men should have equal privileges.

The whole-shares men considered themselves the landed gentry of ,the island, endowed under their purchase rights from Thomas May­hew, not only with the ownership of the soil, but with the right of government.

The resident leader of this faction was Tristram Coffin, a man of good estate from Devon, England, who had been a judge of small causes at Salisbury in the Massachusetts Colony. Coffin was one of the original planters of the island. The Coffin family, father; five sons, and daughters with their husbands, formed a considerable part of the landed gentry.

The leader of the half-shares men was John Gardner from Salem, invited to the island for the purpose of establishing a cod fishery trade. He was a man endowed with a remarkable faculty for leadership, but was contentious and rebellious, and as is often the case with petty political leaders, a man of no great education, but an extremely good opportunist. His brother Richard, a mariner, was also one of the half-shares men, but unlike his brother, was a man of some education,

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and lacked John's love for disputation. The Gardner brothers had qualities that made them popular, and natural abilities that enabled them to become persons of prominence. Coffin and the Gardners were men of strong personalities, and having interests diametrically opposed were soon locked in a feud that extended over a period of years.

According to Henry Barnard Worth, an early investigator into the history of Nantucket: "Wealth, tone and influence were with the Cof­fin faction." The others represented the poorer classes composed mostly of mechanics. The land-owning aristocracy was supported by Thomas Mayhew.

In a character of the governor, the same author writes, "Thomas Mayhew lived at Edgartown and was called 'Governor,' for he was appointed to that office for life. It is said that his motive in buying these islands was to Christianize the Indians. But this will hardly explain his actions. The fact probably is that primarily he wanted a place where he could rule and govern and establish a manor. He was a born aristo­crat and hated anybody who advocated rule by the people. The only practical aristocracy was that connected with land ownership. Tris­'tram Coffin held exactly the same view."

This delineation of the character of Thomas Mayhew is defective in that there is nothing in his life to warrant the supposition that he "hated" those who advocated rule by the people. Mr. Worth's presen­tation of the Nantucket Rebellion is imperfect for the reason that he fails to sense the economic problem involved. It was more a politico­economic struggle, arising out of the peculiar land tenure of the pro­prietary, than a clash of classes.

An attempt has been made to surmount the uprising of the half­shares men with a halo not rightfully theirs. To place their revolt against the authority and rights of the first settlers on the basis of a declaration of independence against wrongs and persecutions is absurd. The half-shares men were neither wronged nor persecuted. They vol­untarily assumed obligations knowing the conditions under which they were expected to live. They knew that under the terms of their con­tracts, and as society was then constituted, they were not to be of equal authority with the First Purchasers in regard to control and ownership of land.

There is no record of any complaint nor, apparently, did the half­shares men question the authority exercised by the whole-shares,men

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until they found themselves in a position to control island politics by reason of their numbers and the capture of New York by the Dutch. They then proceeded to overthrow the government, not by and through the source under which that authority was held, but illegally and by means unethical. In this movement John Gardner, the young­est in point of residence, bore the conspicuous part.

When the Gardners obtained control of the local government they went in persan to New York to submit to the governor-general for his choice of chief magistrate the names of the candidates nominated by the islanders. The governor commissioned  ichard to be chief magis­trate and John to be captain of militia.

The Gardners were not satisfied with these favars. Theypeti­tioned for rulings and changes in the plan of government that were abusive to the rights of the landowning class whO' had nO' representa­tive present to protect its interests. From Lovelace, the Gardners obtained an instruction which purported to interpret the Lavelace charter to the town af Nantucket. This instruction construed all prior deeds to island lands derived fram Thomas Mayhew to' be af "nae fforce or Validity," and that the recard af everyone's claim af inter­est on the island should bear date from the granting af the Lovelace

patent.

Further, the gavernor construed the charter to' run only in favar of freeholders who lived on the island and,improved their property, ar such others having "pretences of Interest" whO' shauld came and inhabit there. This was a blow aimed at Thamas Mayhew and the several non-resident Coffins and athers of the original propric.tors whO' had been instrumental in faunding the island settlement and -whO' had invested their maney in its lands. The Gardners hoped taoeventually confiscate the lands of these proprietars, which wauld thereupon revert to the undivided and common lands of the proprietary'in which the half-shares men had an interest.

John Gardner was also able to induce the govc:;rnor to' confer upon him as captain of militia the pawer "to appoint such Persons Jar inferior Officers" as he in his discretion should judge "most fitt and capable." It was decreed he should hold office at the governor's pleas­

ure. In the plan of government promulgated at the first conference

the inhabitants had been conferred the power to elect all inferior mili­tary officers as should be thought needful.

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This had been the arrangement when the "aristocrats," Mayhew and Coffin, had represented the people of Nantucket, but as soon as the "democratic" Gardners were able to reach the governor's ear, the scheme of things was changed and the power of the people in military affairs reduced.

One salutary rulin  Lovelace passed at this session of errors. This was a decree that "in regard of the Distance of the Place and ye uncer­tainty of Conveyance betwixt" New York and Nantucket, "ye Chiefe Magistrate and all the Civil Officers" should continue in their employ­ment until the return of the governor's choice of a new chief magis­trate was received. Irony lies in the fact that when this ruling was put into force by a political opponent, the Gardners immediately repu­diated its effect.

The gorge of the Gardners has been pictured as rising each time they thought of Thomas Mayhew and his family endowed with heredi­tary and other privileges. Yet these men who had not participated in the early struggle of colonization, and who had invested no money in the enterprise, were ready and willing to receive to themselves a sur­

  prising number of privileges. They had entrenched themselves in power and had hamstrung the liberties of the original planters and chief owners of the soil of Nantucket.

Upon their return to Nantucket the newly Worshipful Richard Gardner, Esq., and Captain John Gardner deemed it expedient to bring with them a letter from the governor addressed to the inhabi­tants. In the letter Lovelace extended his thanks to the people of the island for the "Token" of "fifty weight of ffeathers"; at that time legal tender. The "token," which was paid in advance, appears to have been efficacious in winning-the governor's good graces. In flow­ing words, the genial Lovelace, governor and tavern keeper extraordi­nary, pays his compliments to the Gardners "who have prudently Managed the Trust Reposed in them," and adds the promise that at any time the inhabitants had other proposals to make for the good of the island, they might rest assured of his honor's ready compliance therein (probably upon payment of another fifty pounds of feathers, although this is not mentioned).

With their return to the island the Gardners brought with them "a Book of Lawes of the Government." This was a copy of the "Dukes Laws." By the language of the code it is evident that its laws were

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 intended to extend to the province as a whole. The territories Ililrd by the Duke were not uniformly governed. The city of New YlII'k had one form of government, the three Ridings another, Pema­IIUld and Maine were embraced in neither framework of government,  hilc, as we have seen, the islands of Martha's Vineyard and Nan­kct had a separate form of government with an independent Gen­eral Court. The Duke's laws are said by modern legal authorities to have  applied originally only to the three Ridings. It was not until the administration of Edmund Andros that the Duke authorized the gov­ernor to proclaim them over the entire province.

The justices at Nantucket in their local courts were entitled to use the Duke's laws asa guide for internal affairs if they chose, but they went further and endeavored to force the code upon the entire island jurisdiction in violation of procedure established at the conference of 1671, which had not been repealed. It was this book that disrupted second session of the General Court referred to in the preceding chapter and which led to Matthew Mayhew's attempted journey to the capitol. It is not known whether Matthew carried a "token of feathers," but had he done so it would have been useless. The island envoy did not reach New York.

The news brought back by Matthew that New York had been cap­tured by the Dutch was received by the half-shares men with the same joy it had brought the malcontents at Martha's Vineyard. The oppor­tunity was ripe for the half-shares men 'to throw off their contractual Qbligations to the first proprietors and to assert equal rights in the lands of the proprietary under'the rulings obtained by the Gardners.

It was a law of New York that any grantee of land, not living thereon, failed to perfect his title thereto, and that said land should revert to the proprietary. The purpose of this law was to discourage Inlld speculation by absentee owners. The application of the law to grants of land at Nantucket made by Thomas Mayhew prior,to the time that island came within the jurisdiction of New York, was highly Immoral. The Gardners, by leading Lovelace to say that the ducal charter to Nantucket had cut off prior rights from Thomas Mayhew Rnd hence,that the charter was not one of confirmation, had shrewdly made it possible for ,them to now go forward in an apparent scheme to dispossess some of the whole-shares men of their rights.

Fate having ordained a paralysis of the parent government, the

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Gardner faction was in a position, as expressed by one of their number to administer affairs on the island so that every card they played was an ace and every ace a trump. They proceeded to establish the hypothesis that the Lovelace charter to the freeholders of Nantucket proportioned to each person their inhabiting a like and equal interest in the lands of the proprietary. In this manner they purported to do away with the original distinction of whole and half-shares.

The crux of the situation lay in the fact that if all landholders were in equal ownership, each half-shares man in future divisions of land would receive a whole share instead of a half share, i. e., twice as much land as had been agreed upon in exchange for his services, and would be entitled to pasture cattle and sheep in equal numbers with the wnole-shares men. So far as is known the half-shares men paid nothing for their original rights, nor did they offer to pay for the added inter­ests which they now claimed.

The Gardners stood for the confiscation of property without com­pensation.

The Lovelace charter had been one of confirmation, purporting to settle upon each man the interest held by him at the time of its execu­tion. It was a confirmation by the Duke of York, as the new Lord Proprietor, bf estates acquired upon the island by grants running back through Thomas Mayhew to the Earl of Stirling, whose rights hac

been purchased by the Duke from the Earl's heir. The charter did nol purport to make void earlier deeds, nor did it make the novel attemp1 to proportion to each person holding"'a freehold a like and equal inter. est, each with the other.

In some respects the battle at Nantucket was like that waged ir: many New England settlements between proprietors of the commoll lands and the townsmen, but accentua ed with the added problem o  whole and half shares. Difficulty arose out of the fact that a distinc; tion between proprietary and town as separate legal entities was n(J J clearly perceived.

The proprietors of Nantucket attempted to control their propert

by permitting non-resident proprietors to vote, and perhaps also b proportionate voting, that is, by allowing each landowner to vote' proportion to the amount of land owned by him. If he owned a hat share he had a half-vote, if he owned a whole share he had a whole vot, and so on.     '

 

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These rules were fair and equitable in meetings devoted to pro­metary purposes, but they were naturally undemocratic when applied suffrage.

The early proprietors had regulated and divided lands in town -..:etings because the town meeting at first had been the meeting of the woprietary attending to business customarily handled in the manor JIIBl"ts of England. But in time came inhabitants who were small land­JDlders. These: claimed the right of suffrage, and claiming an equal   in town affairs with the large landowners, were soon able to con­n and distribute the lands of the proprietary to suit themselves, in

::iJf guise that these things were town matters.

                Writers who praise the conduct of the Nantucket insurgents as

J:mocrats fail to perceive the distinction between proprietary: and ""ro. They see only a strpggle for equality in government and over­ - the plundering,of the'proprietary. The struggle was not a strug­

  for the ballot, but a fight for land. At no time did the Gardnerites .;.ak of conferring'suffrage on inhabitants of the town who were not ;a)holders.L dless inhabitants had few rights in the seventeenth .:snry, and the ballot was not one of them; this the Gardners in - wise thought undemocratic. Neither pal'ty was ahead of its day.

The arrival of Andros at New York acted as a temporary check

:he conduct of the half-shares men. In the summer following the .::amption of English government in the province, a group of whole­,.;!Ires men met and appointed Mr. Matthew Mayhew and Mr. Tris­-- Coffin to go to the capitol to place the island situation before :dros.

With these envoys went Thomas Daggett,. of Martha's Vineyard, ...m-law of Governor Mayhew. The emissaries appeared before r: vernor and council on the 4th of November, 1674. A statement              ::lie late uprising at Martha's Vineyard was presented by Daggett

,",-Mayhew who, in th ir address, referred to his Majesty's good sub­:::swho had been awaiting the Duke's restoration of authority "as in

                !'II: of great Drouth for the latter Rain."

.Acting for N antuck;t, Mayhew and Coffin presented a letter rela­- to the land troubles of the island, and also, for the governor's :'"!ISIl, a complete abstract of land titles at Nantucket, including a

                ...m of every sale and purchase made by the proprietors since' the

"111£ from Thomas Mayhew. They also informed the governor that

 

THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

there appeared several grounds of suspicion of an endeavor by some lately admitted to the island and several that formerly had been admit. ted to supplant the first proprietors of their rights by defective record­ings and uncertain keeping of records, "and also by passing two several sorts of laws, the one against the other, and both overthrowing and taking away the forms:r right" of the first proprietors. The address closed with a request for a ruling as to whether the Lovelace charter had been one of confirmation or whether it cut off the prior rights of the whole-shares men, and likewise whether any person having land on the island might not inhabit it by substitute.

The delegates propounded the question whether under the terms of their patent they had not the power lIto Erect a Court or Meeting, as a Mannour Court," that lands granted by them might accordingly be held and enjoyed without interference by the town. They brought out the fact that the Nantucket judges of the Gardner party refused to sit and hence no legal court could be had on the island to adjudge problems. Several times had the judges been appealed to by the whole-shares men Hbut all in vain."

In soliciting the right to erect a manor court at Nantucket, May­hew and Coffin were endeavoring to enforce the principle upon which the American proprietary was founded. They saw no reason why the distribution and control of proprietary lands should not be determined by the landowners in proportion to their landed holdings, as stockhold­ers act in the modern corporation.

In the early days the government of the proprietary had in many

respects resembled that of the manor. Disputes criminal and civil had been settled by the inhabitants, but mainly the proprietary had concerned itself with the control and distribution of lands, the rights

 

Iof the inhabitants to firewood, pasturage, and other interests of like nature. Recordations of title and the names of those occupying and owning lands were kept in local records much as they were entered upon manor rolls.    .

                The New England proprietary might broadly have been defined

as a transplanted English manor without a lord.

The suggestion of a Manor Court was apparently rejected by Andros, but the governor did not entirely fail to heed the prayers of the island supplicants.

                He ordered that the government I'and Magistracy of ye Islan

 

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Martin's Vineyard and Nantucket" should be settled in the same man­ner and in the same persons as were legally invested therein at the time of the coming of the Dutch, or who had since been legally elected by virtue of his "Royall Highness Authority."

This the governor supplemented with a commission to the judges to call "Offenders to Account in Martin's Vineyard, &c.," for partici. pation in the rebellion against the government in the days of the Dutch occupation of New York.

Pursuant to this power Thomas Mayhew proceeded to quash the rebellion at Martha's Vineyard, although he was able to do nothing at Nantucket for the reason that the Gardners still refused to convene in General Court.

The ringleaders at Martha's Vineyard were Simon Athearn and Thomas Burchard, theJatter an ancestor 10f President Rutherford Burchard Hayes. In the early days of Great Harbor, Burchard had been a man of proI1}inence, holding for a number of years the office of town clerk and/ the more important office of assistant to Mayhew. Declining for ome reason in the favor of the Freemen of the town or the Patentee, he failed to again hold office after his election as assistant in 1656:" At the same time he lost social caste in the eyes of the ruling family, as his name appears thereafter in the records without the title "Mr." earIiercaccorded him.

                It is remarkable. that Burchard was not prosecuted for his partici­

pation in the insurrection; perhaps due to his advanced years.

The first to feel the wrath of Governor Mayhew after the return home of the delegates from New York, armed with authority from Andros'to punish transgressors, was Simon Athearn.

The dissatisfaction of Athearn with all things emanating from the Mayhew family was of chronic duration. Rebellious by nature, he led a strenuous and fruitful life among the early settlers of the Vineyard. At the time of his death he was reputed one of the wealthiest men in the community, not of the Mayhew family. A bitter opponent of the Mayhew nile, he was never a potent officeholder, but if there is merit in the belief that politics can be "kept pure only by the maintenance of more than one party, he afforded his fellowmen immeasurable service by constantly keeping an opposition party in life.

He began his long career of breaking lances with the governing family by the purchase of land of the Indians without the consent of

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Thomas Mayhew. This brought him also in conflict with his fellow­townsmen and resulted in litigation which seems to have brought him spiritual comfort as well as material profit. Henceforth he was an intractable enemy of both the governor and the governor's grandson, Matthew. His battle cry was "lesser taxes" for the "poore" of Tis­bury. As one of the largest landed proprietors of that town the slogan had to him a deep significance.

Summoned before the court of Martha's Vineyard, Athearn was found guilty of "high crime" and was accordingly bound over to the Supreme Court ot the province where, upon conviction he might expect punishment extending to "life Limbe or Banishment."

The sentence of the court took the fight out of Athearn, as well it might. He threw himself upon the mercy of the tribunal, and although a young man aged about thirty-one years, swore upon oath that his fellow-citizen, Thomas Burchard, near four score in years, had been the cause which had seduced him to act in opposition to authority. Perhaps he reasoned that Burchard had not long to live and might well accept the punishment.

The court commuted sentence by levying a fine of twenty-five shill­ings in money and seven pounds in cattle or corn, and revoked its sentence binding Athearn over to the court at New York; but ordered that his "freedom" or right of citizenship be deprived him at its pleasure. For speaking against the sentence of the court in another case, Athearn was fined an additional ten pounds, one-half in money forthwith and the balance in produce.

The punishments were heavy, but the spirit of Athearn was not long downcast, and before the year is out he is found addressing a long letter to Governor Andros concerning the difficulties experienced by subjects at Martha's Vineyard not in the favor of the official circle. This was one of the first of a long serie's of letters concerning affairs at Martha's Vineyard with which Athearn was to bombard each suc­ceeding governor.

In these letters Athearn recommended candidates for civil, judi­cial, and military offices, ,criticized laws, attacked the characters of the officeholders, and in general made himself an unsolicited nuisance. When he died the islanders were uniform in their opinion that a great civic leader had passed away.

\Vhen the conduct of the rebels, in defying Mayhew's authority in

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time of war, in boasting "that the longest sword would bear rule," and in challenging "the family of him" to physical combat, is considered, the governor of Martha's Vineyard island is to be commended that he did not originate a greater number of prosecutions after the restora­tion of peace. Only four cases are definitely known to have been insti­gated. It is quite possible that the remaining malcontents hastened to make their peace, and were forgiven. The conduct of Mayhew was gentle in comparison with punishments that would in modern days be inflicted for similar offenses.

Yet it is the opinion of the historian of Martha's Vineyard that the rebels "were simply being punished for seeking political freedom, and naturally had the sympathy of those in other colonies where the ballot was the poor man's weapon against oppression and arbitrary rulers." The statement overlooks the fact that the poor man in America did not have the ballot until the days of Andrew Jackson, long after. It further ignores the fact that the freemen of the Vineyard had the ballot in all t9wn matters and for the election of all magistrates and judges, with the exception of the chief magistrate. Five out of six of the judges of the General Court were elected by the people. It is the opinion of many qualified legal authorities that the appointive method in the selection of a judiciary is preferable to the elective system; and   that system has always been the vogue in the Federal Government.

The history of colonial America is replete with warfare between governors attempting to;exercise prerogatives and freemen striving for a greater degree of recognition. This controversy constitutes the greater part of the political history of many of the American colonies prior to the Revolution. It is not surprising that Thomas Mayhew, whose administration as a proprietor and governor extended over a period of forty-one years, should have been drawn into this maelstrom of political thought and the war between proprietary and town.

Victory at Martha's Vineyard lodged with the governor and for the balance of his life he ruled unruffled over the island which he had colonized with so much genius.

Said he: "I have doune my best in settling these Isles: have passed tHrough many Difficulties and Daungers in it, been at verry much Cost touching English and Indians."  .

 

177

CHAPTER XVI

 

THE DEMOCRATS

 

At Nantucket the Gardners continued to control the local courts, preventing Governor Mayhew from putting into force the authority from Governor Andros to call the rebels of that island to account.

Unlike the rebellion at Martha's Vineyard, the insurrection at Nantucket did not collapse on receipt of the news of the resurrender of New Amsterdam. Between the rebellious factions of the two islands a common cause was not effected.

The receipt of the Andros instructions stirred new activity in the ranks of the insurrectionists. Capt. John Gardner and Peter Folger were appointed by the half-shares men to go to New York to present Andros with a report of "the true state of affairs" on the island, as they saw it.

After some delay Gardner and Folger repaired to the capitol armed with a petition in which the half-shares men professed to wel­come the arrival of the new governor-general as they would "the ris. ing Sun after a dark and stormy Night." In the document the signa­tories advanced the hope that Andros would grant their "friends" Gardner and Folger, a favorable audience and a candid hearing of the situation, which they alleged to believe had not been accurately reported by Matthew Mayhew, Tristram Coffin, and Thomas Daggett. Much that did not appear in the petition would be told the governor by the envoys; "There being many Things an9. that of Consequence which by writeing we cannot so well do, which we have committed to our Friends, to attend yo'r Hon's Direction in." In the mouth of these friends, continue the petitioners, "we are confident will not be found a false Tongue."

Before the promulgation of the Andros orders, the half-shares men had laid great stress on the Lovelace charter and had maintained that their conduct was wholly in submission to the Duke's government. But the opinion of the governor-general, that the charter did not void May­

 

. *This is the last of four installments of Mr. Hare's story of Thomas Mayhew.

 

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hew's patent, cut the ground from under them. Although they pro. fessed to Andros their "true and hearty Obedience to his Royall High­nesse Lawes," their conduct belied their words. On the island they were now openly in opposition to the Duke's government, maintaining that the orders of the governor-gen ral "were nothing" because, in their opinion, they had been promulgated under a mistaken knowledge of the facts.

When Gardner and Folger arrived at the capitol they found there Matthew Mayhew and Tristram Coffin on behalf of the whole:shares party. A four-day session with the governor ensued. The silvery­tongued "friends" harangued the governor and were answered by Mayhew and Coffin. .

On the last day of the hearing a "Draught of what was graunted, allowed of, and consented unto by all Part yes" was ordered engrossed. It provided a number of radical changes in the scheme of government, not the least important of which was a provision that all matters triable in the local island courts, involving property or damages over five pounds in amount, and all cases and proceedings in the General Court should be tried in accordance with the Duke's laws. This changed the framework of government established by Lovelace which had permit­ted the island legislators to make laws based on selections from the Boston, Plymouth, and English law books.

The change sheared the island, jurisdiction of a large share of its autonomy in local government. However, each island and the several town corporations were authorized to continue the making of local ordinances in matters not exceeding five pounds. By the confirmation of this power, Governor Mayhew and those associated with him in government were still empowered to make laws at Martha's Vineyard that would meet with Mayhew's high standards of morality in Indian affairs.

Other changes were made in government which were of no particu­lar benefit to either side. The vital question of land titles w s left in statu quo. A ruling that the Lovelace charter was one of confirmation was a victory for the landed party, but the. ruling that the lands of the non-resident owners should not be forfeited, providing they should thereafter improve their properties, was a partial victory, not entirely fair to the proprietors who had originally acquired their lands without

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

d.. '1'

qualifications. The absentee owners were entitled to a confirmation or

their rights in accordance with the terms Of their purchase from Thomas Mayhew.

History paints Governor Andros in no pretty attitude as a gov. ernor of northern colonies in '!America, but his 'conduct of island affairs while in charge at New York was. on the whole conciliatory.

Hardly had matters been temporarily adjusted at Nantucket'when Simon Athearn lifted the lance of his pen and dipped into the ink pot to "Ienlighten Andros of the "true" state of affairs .at Martha's Vine. yard. Like his prototypes at Nantucket he was not restrain d in th  use of personalities and criticism. He was particularly laborious in detailing the shortcomings of the ruling family at Matth;.'s Vineyard as seen from his own angle, and made mention of "rible rable and notions of men" in reference to laws not meeting his approval.

Athearn's spleen was aroused by the fact that he had just purchased"

lands of the Indians" in disregard of Mayhew's title, on the principle that he was entitled to do so under the terms of the Lovelace charter to the town' of Tisbury, which was similar in language to that granted the town of Nantucket. In this respect Athearn borrowed some of Capt. John Gardner's ,thunder. Because Mayhew refused to record

the lands purchased of the Indians, Athearn  as in favor of a change"v of administration in government. He disapproved bitterly the power granted the local court which enabled it to make laws more stringent,ill for Martha's Vineyard than those in force in other parts of th  province.

Meantime the complexion of politics at Nantucket was ch<tnging. Thomas Macy, one of the few whole-shares men to be affiliated with the Gardner faction, had been appointed chief magistrate of Nan. tucket. For a'reason not now known, at the end of his term of offi\=e a successor was not appointed. Macy called a meeting of the town to consider the matter and the town decided that he should hold over in office until a new magistrate should be commissioned by Andros.

Peter Folger writes of the meeting. Says he, "Som of vs said it was not the Town's Business to speake of his Commission, but we did conceiue that your Hon. had left a safe and plain Way for the carying on of Gouernment til further Order. Others sayd that his Comniis­, sion was in Force til further Order, though not e;JCprest and argued,#        out from former Instructions, .and began to be very fierce."

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO THE INDIANS

 

Continues Folger, "We thought their End to be bad and, there­fore sayd littel,oJ;" nothing more, they being the greater Part, but were resoulued to be quiet, looking upon it as an evil Time."

Island control had swung again to the side of the whole-shares men. A number of inhabitants of the mainland had removed to the island to escape the depredations of the Indians stirred by King Philip. Among thest( were Peter and James Coffin, sons of Tristram. Peter, later a chief justice of New Hampshire and for a time acting governor of that province, was a proprietor of Nantucket and had been one of the first Ten Purchasers r His brother James, a prominent merchant, was also a proprietor. Both were members of the absentee landlord class"that the Gardners had, been so assiduously attacking. Their appearance was embarrassing to the,half-sha es men.

"Then another Meeting was  allelto chuse new Assistants to Mr. Macy," recites our informant of still, more "evil Times," and "We knowing that we should be out voted, sat still and voted not. The first Man that was chosen was Peter Coffin."

Whereupon rose the gore of Peter Folger. He had been one of the "friends" elected by the town who had given Andros "full Sat­tisffaction and Information" concerning island affairs. As a reward for his efforts he had been appointed Recorder and Clerk of the Writs of thelocal court. In his 'possession were its records.

T4e new clerk question d whet er the court now constituted by the majority party at Nantucket was "a Legal Court." His quandary grew out "Of the holding over of Macy (which was in accordance 'with the'llules of t/1epyke's,government for whi h Folger expressed l]luch soli itude) and the fact that Peter Coffin was an officer in the Massa­chu etts Colony at the time of his coming to Nantucket, and more par. ticularly "A ]}fan that brought hither an evil Report of your Hon. from the Bay" which "if your Hon. [Andros] did know the Man as well as God know him, or but haJfe so well as some o{ us know him, I do verily belieue that your Hon. would dislike his Ruling here as much as any of vs."      1

In December the Quarter Court of Nantucket convened, and Fol­geras clerk was in a "Strait what to do,'" but he "Resolued to be quiet" and to that end appeared at Court with the court book ' thinking

thereby to while away Time" as peacefully as possible until some fur­

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, pATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

 her order might  be received from New Y ork  hat would meet with the approval of the Gardner faction. At the session Folger refused to make any entry of the court's actions or to give uIJ possession of the re/ords.

According to Folger's admission the books and records of the court were demanded of him several times, before his arrest. At length a constable was dispatched with a warrant, whereupon Folger departed for the house of Captain John Gardner for solace and advice. Here,

                '               ,               /"!:

he was found, in bad company as the constable thought, and' haled and

                , draged" out of,the house and carried to court.

"I cam,before them," say§ Folger, "and carried myselfe"everyJ

way as ciuilly as I could, only I spake neuer a Word, for I was fully persuaded that if I spake anything at aI, they would turn it against me.

I remembered also the old Saying that of nothing comes nothing."

The outcome of the adage was the return of Folger to jail, "where,,!11

neuer any English-man was put, and where the Neighbors Hogs had

layed but the Night before." Court records show that Peter Folger

was "Inditted for Contempt of his MajisAthority, in not appearing

before the Court according to sumons serued on him" and for refusing'

to speak when presented to the Bar "Tho the Court waited on hem a While and urged him to speak."

The case was remitted to the Court of Assizes at New York for' trial, and Folger kept in prison, although upon occasion his kind hearted keeper allowed him to visit home.

Every effort was made by the authorities to secure the book of records, but without success. V aluable,re ords of the early courts of              Nantucket are consequently lost to the historian.             "

It is quite certain that Folger could have secured ample bail had he been"so minded, for his family and friends were in a position to give him all the needed assistance. But although his adherents failed to raise bail, they were outspoken in their expressions of indignation at the imprisonment of the "Rec6rderand Clark of the Writs," "a poore old Man, aged 60 Y eares." Sarah, wife of Mr. Richard Gardner, being legally convicted of speaking very "opprobriously and uttering many slanderous words concerning the imprisonment of Peter' Folger," was summoned to appear before the Court, where she was admonished at the ,Bar to have a care in the use of evil words tending to defame His

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

Majesty's Court. Fines provided for by law in suchcaseswere"remit­ted upon her good behavior. Others convicted of speaking evil of authority, or in defamation of Court, were Tobias @oleman and Elea­zur Folger, the latter a son of the martyred clerk.

Folger's stubborn conduct"at this time was particularly unfortunate as it stimulated a feeling of unrest among the Indians. King Philip's War was' waging on the mainland. The times were dangerous and troublesome. It is understood that the book withheld by Folger con­tained matters of Indian importance which could not be solved without the presence of the record.

Folger in a letter to Andros hints an Indian uprising if he is not released, and if laws passed by the new magistrates are not revoked. It must be inferred that one of these was the law against the liquor traffic. It is clear that Capt. Gardner paid little attention to this law and there is no direct evidence that either he or Mr. Folger was par. ticularly active in quieting the resentment shown by the Indians.

Complaint was made by the Indians, reports Folger's letter, that the new magistrates were "Young Men," and that Peter Coffin, a "Boston Man," judged their cases. It is doubtful if the Indians would have questioned the right of Coffin to act as judge, without English instigation, which must have come from members of the half.shares faction.

On the other hand it cannot be denied that the Indians were accus­tomed to select the aged among them as the wisest. Experience alone brings education to m n who do hot learn by the printed word. In primitive communities experience is the result of age. The Indian listened in councils of state most flattering to men of the tribe on the sunny side of senility as oracles of profound wisdom.

Th  young men of the tribe were impressed more by the number of gray hairs on the speaker's head, the furrows across his withered cheek, and the moons that had passed over his venerable pate, than by any profundity of thought that poured from his lips. The progress of education was slow among the Indians, but for the needs of matrimony and war it was sufficient. Each generation in turn listened with depressing seriousness to the errors of the former, and continued to perpetuate them.

This sad picture is not entirely' unknown to civilized peoples, who are pleased to C! ll the theory "conservatism" and to coin for it such a

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

neat s16gan as "getting back to normalcy." It is the soul of statesman-,\! ship. Lawyers call it precedence. Socialists call it other names.

It should be noted that of the men whom Folgercomplains were  [..

so youthful, Thomas Macy was aged sixty-nine years, Peter Coffin "

was forty-six, William,Worth probably about thirty-nine, and   than­iel Barnard thirty-four. Folger was ab \lt fifty-nine. As Governor Andros was but for,tY years of age, the argument was pot 3!- good one.

The troubles of Folg r and Capt. Gardner were not ended by tne ..

sentences of Jhe Jocal court., The deflection of ,chief magistrate Macy.

to the whole-shares party enabled Thomas Mayh w to convene a Ge -III'

eral Court.

The first matter which the justices of the court took into consider- iI,!/ill

ation was "how they might best maintain his Majestie's Authortie in this Court, espetially with relation to the Heathen among whom it was" m

vulgarly Rumored that there was no Gournment on Nantuckett and

haueing good Caus  to, su pect, the sarp  tp proc  d originally fro!p

some English instigating them, or by their practice incourageing them in the same, to the great Danger of causing Insurrection," the. court

saw fit to send for Captain Gardner. ,I

Th  Captain of the local Foot Company, failing to respond to

summons, was brought forcibly before, the court, where he "demeane'Q. himself most irreverently, sitting down with his Hat on, taking no Notice of the Court, behaveing himself so both in Words and Ges­tures" as to declare his great contempt of the court's authority, to the great dishonor of his "Majesti s Authoritie."          m

Tristram Coffin, observing the Captain's conduct, spok,e to him, s!1-ying that he was very,sorry that he did behave himself with such  contemptuous carriage in regard'to the King's authority, whereupon

the C ptain retorted, "I know my business and it may be that some of

those that have meddled  ith me had better: .eaten fier."            II!IJ

The sitting of the court was a busy one. In modern day it would have been covered by a corps of feature writers, pen and ink artists, and a staff of photographers. The records of posterity would have been enricheq by court room photographs of the judge, pen inhandl)! poised over a ledger, a group of blase court attaches, a battery of la ­yers-chief, assistants, and "attorneys of counsel"-the malcontents,

and certainly all their female relati' es on the witness stand adorned

in their best hosiery displayed in the most approved fashion" i,n. an

"', 

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

attempt to save their loved ones from incarceration in His Majesty's Gaol, where hogs had rooted the night before.

Th  session clos'ed with the levying of numerous fines, and'the dis­

franchisement of Capt. John Gardner.   ,

,With the close of court an epidemic of letters descendedilhn the governor at N ew York like locusts of old in the land of Egypt. Gard­ner addressed Andros the 15th of'March and again the 31St of May, 1677. Peter 'Folger contributed to the deluge with a lengthy epistle dated-the 27th"pf Ma ch,)n which he not only presented the story of his imprisonment, but took pains to round out, any' details that Ga'i:dner might inadvertently have slighted.

Shortly before this, the pent up emotions of Peter Folger had over­flowed, and he took solace in the muses, writing a lengthy poem in which he pointed out the evil of magistrates. Upon their bowed shoulders he placed nearly all the ills of humanity including Indian wars and the persecutions of Anabapti'sts "for the witness that they bore' against babes sprinkling."

The rulers in the country I do own them in the Lord:

And such as are for government, with them I do accord.

But that which I intend hereby, is that th y would keep. bounds,

And meddle not with God's worship, for which they have no ground.

Of course, it must he understood that there are good and bad

                 [ "'1

magistrates. It only happened that at Nantucket the good magistrates

were but of office and the enemy, composed always of bad magistrates, in office. Godly men, like the uncrowned poet laureate of Nantucket and the literarily inclined Gardner of letter writing fame, were without employment.

It is not known that Andros ever saw Folger's poem or would have

                read it had his attention been drawn to it, but he suspected by this time

" ,I

that all was not well at Nantucket. It was evident that some of His

Majesty's well beloved subjects were not living in the bonds of peace and brotherly love. There whs a great deal more politics than gov­ernment at Nantucket.

From the sentence of disfranchisement,  aptain Gardner entered his appeal to the Court of Assizes, addressing himself to "Mr. Thomas Mayhew and Gentlemen all such as are his Majesties Lawfull and Rightfully Established Officers," thereby reserving any recognition of the "legality of the justices on the bench' elected by the whole-shares party at Nantucket.

 

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Thereafter, not awaiting the action of the Court of Assizes on the merits of the appeal, Gardner brought his case directly to the atten­tion of the governor at New York. This extra-judicial procedure resulted in an order by Andros that the proceedings against Gardqer be suspended until further order, ' during which Time all Persons [were] to forbear Intermedling Speeches..or Actions or any AggraV'a  tions whatsoever, at their Perills." The action on the complaint agaf st Peter Folger was likewise ordered suspended for the time being.

Thomas Macy, however, was ordered to continue in office as chief / magistrate, notwithstanding the, contention of the half-shares men. 

A few months later Governor Andros issued a further order in the premises addressed to "the Magistrates of the Particular and Gen-1iIJ erall Court att Nantucket" in which he declared the sentence of dis" franchisement to be illegal and beyond the authority of the court r !l­de ring the same.

The news that Capt. John Gardner had personally journeyed to New York and brought his case before the gove nor, and the report of the findings of Andros, was not happily received by the landed pa ty. Feeling ran high. Gardner gives his version of what occurred wh, n the order was received by Governor Mayhew. He writes: "Three Days after heecame toimy lodging in as great passion as I judg a marl could wel be Accu[s]ingme hyly whering Ilwas wholly Innocent, and not proued though endeauoured, Mr. Mayhew taking this opportunity to vent himselfe as followeth, :Telling me I hav bin at York but shoul"Sl "111

loose my Labour, that if the Gouernour did unwind he would wind; that he would make my fine and disfranchizement too abide on me do the Gouernour what he could; that he had nothing against me neither was angry but that I had spocken against his Interest and I should doune, with maney more Words of like Nature, but to loung hear to ensert; and when. I came Home to Nantucket, I found the same Mi d and Resolution there also."

After the pleasure of breaking the news to Governor Mayhew, Gardner took satisfaction in delivering Tristram Coffin a letter from Andros relative to the same matter. But restoration to citizenship did not follow. The l,ocalleader of the gentry expressed doubt as to the power of the governor-general to take Gardner's case away from the Court of Assizes. He informed Gardner of the purpose of the whole­shares men to test the governor's power in the matter. Meantime the

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governor's order "was nothing at all but two or three darke words." Gardner's disfranchisement and fine were to stand.

In time reaction expressed itself. Early in 1679 the men of the town of Nantucket decided to elect Gardner an Assistant in the gov­ernment, notwithstanding the attitude of the General Court. Perhaps they thought that Gardner had been "sufficiently punished. But Tris­tram Coffin was not willing to give in and at the next meeting of the

General Court he took pains to direct the attention of that body to the

fact that the town of Nantucket had illegally elected John Gardner to public office, whereupon the court ordered that a warrant should issue

to call the town to answer for its contempt of the order disfranchising

Gardner.

"When it is considered that Gardner had long been under political disability, that the townsmen of Nantucket were willing to restore him

to his former place in their good graces, and that rightly or wrongly

he had the support of Governor Andros, the conduct of the General Court was obdurate. It may be thought that Thomas Mayhew, its president, now nearing his eighty-seventh year, was more and more com­ing under the influence of his grandson Matthew, but anyone who has studied the old governor's career cannot but know that every act of his life to his dying daY,was the\ esult of his own volition.

In the political history of Nantucket there is little to choose between

the stubbornness of Thomas Mayhew, Tristram Coffin, Peter Folger,

and John Gardner. Each was "firm" to the point of eccentricity.

In the end, the General Court was obliged to retract its sentence.

Gardner's citizenship was restored by Governor Andros after years of

dilatory tactics on the part of the central government, and he was com­missioned Chief Magistrate of Nantucket. The breach between the doughty warrior and Tristram Coffin was healed and a substantial

friendship' established, befitting the spirit of Nantucket, destined to

become a Quaker community.   .

Following the death of Tristram Coffin, a grandson married a daughter of Capt. Gardner. Thus were united the houses of Capet and Montague in the bonds of matrimony. Political feuds faded in the raising of five sons and three daughters'

A few rods east of the homestead of Richard Gardner, the bride's uncle, was built a mansion house, in its day pretentious and elegant, still to be seen. Here the united couple made their home. Tradition

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THOMAS  MAYHEW, PATRIARCH.,:;rO INDIANS

 

states that the site of the house was donated by Captain Gardncl' 1111\\ the lumber in its construction sawed in New Hampshire in the mlllnr

the groom's father, the Peter Coffin ' hom Gardner h donce accuwl

of having his "mouth full of vile reports.'

Doubtless the stalwart old"Captain quaffed a great"glass of "Rnlll'l at"the marriage festivities and recalled the days when he had said Ih,£ it were better to eat "fier" than to oppose his interest.

Tradition indicates that the Coffin-Gardner feu,d had  ot cnth,.I, subsided at the time of the marriage ceremony. Just prior to th. event Peter t,?ok it upon himself to enquire if a deed ,pad been excclIl.d to the land tpon which the J:1appy couple's home' had,b,een hulll<. Informed that that little formality had been neglected, he forbac1l1 I hi

performance of the ceremony until the a reement of .the familics hlld

been consummated in full. The story g6'es that the Captain lu\(1 III hustle in order to sign, execute, and deliver the deed to the intclldl!d couple before tIie time set for the wedding. :peter Coffin took a j,C1'11t\ delight in the Captairi.'s predicament. The fire-eaters wen!' not 11110"

one side.

'

Gardner in the office of chief magistrate laterhaa trouble with Ih,

                "mouthings" of "sum hote brains" on the island, as he picturcsqup\

 

r.

 

stated it. Satisfied with his abilities he wrote Andros that if(Othe inilld! ­

tants of the island were left to themselves, it would soon'be their ,'ullli Gardner had made the discovery that there is always a fractious 1'"1'1' out of power to contend with. He had once been a rebel, he was IItlW one of the "ins" seeking the suppqrt of the governor-general  at. Yw'k to whom he had so many times appealed as an "out."

With the ascension of William and Mary to the throne of Eu!{hllilt

!il,,'. I, ",

a new CIlarter was granted the Massachusetts colony, by the terlll. lit

which Martha's Vineyard, Nantucket, and their dependencies wprl transferred from New York to Massachusetts.

Under the Massachusetts gd ernment the land question of Nlln­

tucket, as well as that of other towns in the province, was settled {or 1111

tirn'e by the passage of an act which autho,dzed the p ppr!i tors oE \n 1111.

to meet as a body in respect to the handling of land, apart of thc tnwn

as a political unit. Pursuant to the terms of the act the proprietol'l lit

Nantucket in 1716 formed themselves into a body corporate knowil ..

"The 'Proprietors of the Comm n and Undivided Lands of N antucklll, II

 

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CHAPTER XVII

 

THE INInAN CHURCH

The greatest missionary triumph of Thomas Mayhew was the conversion ot"the Gay H,ead tribe of Indians, a race which for, twenty years had resisted the influence of the white man, being animated in its obstinacy by pagan sachems on the continent near by. On the soil of Aquiniuh, as the Indians called this land, close by the multi;;colored cliffs that are one of New England's marvels, heathen rights were per­formed and powwows exercised witchcraft and curative powers as in the days of their fathers.      "

Through the activities of native preachers Thomas Mayhew was able to reach the ear of the sachem Mittark, "Lord of Gay ,Head."

An account of Mittark s conversion is penned by a contemporary, the Rev. John Mayhew: "Mittark, sachem of Gay Head, dece'ased Janu­ary 20, 1693. He and his people were in heathenism till about the year 1663, at which time it pleased Him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will, to call him out of darkness into his mar­vellous light; and his peop   being on that account disaff,ected to hirn, he left them and removed, to the east end of the Island, where after he had continued about three years, he returned home again and set up a meeting at Gayhead, he himself 'dispensing the word of God unto as many as would come to hear him; by which means it pleased God to bring over all that people to a profession of Christianity."

Since that time Gay Head has been one of the Christian Indian towns of the island. The stronghold of paganism is today the last refuge of the Christian Indian.

About the time of the conversion of' Mittark there came to fill the pastorate at Edgartown the Rev. John Cotton, Jr., son of the cele­brated Boston preacher of that name and uncle of the still greater Cotton Mather. He accepted what the Reverends Pierson and Hig­ginson had disdained, and with the enthusiasm of a youth of twenty­four years of age entered upon the duties of his first regular church office. It was understood that he was to lend himself to the work of the Indian mission, now without the services of Peter Folger, who had removed from the island.

 

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Cotton Mather informs us that the new clergymanhired,an ,IhlliDIl at the rate of twelve pence per day for fifty days to teach him Ihll Indian tongue, "but his Knavish Tutor having received his Who1'" I'IIY too soon, ran away before Twenty Days were out."

In addition to his salary as pastor of the church at Edgartown, ('01 ton received an honorarium from the Society for his missionary 1111101"

The family purse was fu,rther filled, in one "year, by a payment, oE I II pounds to the 'cleric's wife for her more or less professional scrvlC'.1 among the natives in the art and mystery of "Physicke and SUJ,:gol'Y 1\

The Puritan mi d conceived the profession'of medicine, like lnw, II democratic pursuit for the well meaning soul rather than the 111'1\1111111 mind. Perhaps he was not far wrong in reposing his faith in (hili rather than in the sciences of the seventeenth century.

The services of John Cotton were not of long duration. A l,\\.'Ipllll'lI with the governor ensued. Cotton was inexperienced in years, a Beilin of a famous family, and doubtless headstrong in opinion, disincliinad HI submit to minute supervision. Mayhew was old in the, arts of hll labor, and settled in his ways, a man who brooked little intel'.:6CI'NIIII and rebellion: that a clash of wills ensued is not surprising. 'Fha 111'. ferences of the two were laid before the commissioners of the WJ'iliIIHI Colonies, and the following is a record of what happened in the mntllll'l

Mr John Cotton appeared before the Comrpissioners and WI' seriously spoken too To Compose those allianations between him fltllJ Mr Mahew; otherwise it was signifyed to him that the, CommissiollPI"

could not expect good by theire labours wheras by theire mutud'l1' Cnn. tensions and Invictiues one against another they vndid what, theYr tau"-h' the Natiues and sundry calles (as hee said) being made him by Ih, English to other places. . . . hee was left to his libertie to dis o.n ur himselfe as the Lord should Guid him.

Severing his connection with the Vineyard, the young prlltot removed t  Plymouth, one oJ the "sundry calles," where he serverl .

useful pastorate many years and continued his missionary la:bOl" hy preaching to the Indians of that locality.

Three years after his removal from the i land an Indian chunh was formed at Martha's Vineyard. The two Mayhews and Bliot hftd been slow to grant the natives full fellowship in a  hurch body ol'l!Inll. ized on the English pattern. John Eliot in 1660 had organized a) chunh of Indians at Natick, but without native officers or pastor, due,in£or'tn.

 

19°

 

III

 

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THOMAS MA}:'"HEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

Eliot, to the desire of the members that he alone shoulcf"serve as its head. .

As early as 1652 the junior Mayhew had drawn up "an excellent Covenant" in the nativ;e language, which was entered into by a number of Indians, who elected rulers from among themselves "to suppress all Wickedness" and to encourage goodness. It wa  the duty of these mcn "to see that the Indians walk .d ,in an orderly manner; encourag­Ing those who did so, and dealing with those who did not, according to thc word of GOD."                .

Shortly after the death of Thomas Mayhew, Jr., the father organ­izcd a few of the converts into a tentative church body. Ceremqnies were arranged by him and invitations sent to Gov. Thomas Princ , of Plymouth, and others, "but they came IlOt," says Mayhew. However, "the English on the 'island, and.,i,several strangers of, divers places, present, did well approve of them." Like the church gathered at N atick, it had no officers.

Satisfied in time that, the Vineyard converts had pro-ven staunch in the new faith and were ready and qualified for the full status of, church membership in accordance with the Congregational order, Thomas Mayhew made arrangements for the organization of a church which Bhould be the first in both Americas to be regularly organized with native officers and presided over\,by an ,.ordained native pastor.

Again he sent invitations throughout the New England colonies, inviting dignitaries interested in the Indian work to attend the cere­monies of installation. In response came John Eliot, "the leading light In the missionary firmament," and the Rev. John Cotton who had quarreled with Mayhew enough ye;lrs before to have forgiven and Forgotten.

The presence of Eliot was, in one respect, the return of a compli­ment. Years prior to this even , Eliot had dispatched invitations to Bcholars who were acquainted with the Indian language, inviting them to assist him at an assembly of converts for the purp'bse of inv stigating the fitness of Indians resident about Eostop for church, membership. Of those invited, Thomas'Mayhew, Jr., al ne respond iI to lend aid.

Writing of the foundation of the Vineyard church, Prince tells us that "The Day appointed being, come, which was August 2 , '1670, an lItdian Church was completely formed and organized, to the Satisfac­tion of the English Church, and other religious People on the Island,

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who had Advantage of many Years Acquaintance, and sufficient Expe­rience of their Qualifications."

The rites of the Congregational order were administered by the three missionaries. Hands were imposed in ordination by John Eliot, Mr. Cotton, and Thomas Mayhew. "We did at the first receive them," writes Mayhew, "they renouncing heathenism and confessing their sins." .

Dr. Increase Mather in a Latin letter to Professor Leusden, of Utrecht, acquaints us that when the people had fasted and prayed, Mr. Eliot, of Roxbury, and Mr. John Cotton, of Plymouth, laid their hands on the ministers elect and they were solemnly ordained.

The Rev. John Eliot in a letter published at London writes of his attendance saying, "Many were added to the Church... . . both Men and Women, and were all of them baptised, and their Children also with them" and that "the church was desirous to have chosen Mr. Mayhew for their pastor; but he waived it; conceiving, he has greate  advantageous to standtheir5friend, and do them good; to s ve them from the hands of such as would bereave them of their lands, &c. But they should always have his counsel, instruction, and management in their Ecclesiastical affairs, as they hitherto had; that he would die in the service of Christ; and that the praying Indians, both of the Vine­yard and Nantucket depend on him, as the great instrument of God for their good."

The officers of the church OJ;dained by the missionaries were Hia­coomes, pastor; John Tackanash, teacher; John N ahnoso and Joshua Momatchegin, ruling eld'ers.

The ordination of a pastor and a teacher was in accordance with the practice of the ancient churches of New England when each church was supplied with two ministers who were supposed to be in some respects distinct officers in the church.

The church at Martha's Vineyard first gathered its membership from all parts of the island and Nantucket, but within two years was divided irtto two churches, one at Edgartown and the other at Chappa­'quiddick,both on the island of Martha's Vineyard. The Indian offi­cers'of tHese churches solemnly and successfully carried on 'the work with which they were charged, proving themselves worthy of the trust imposed on them by their missionary father.

The story of Hiacoomes has already been related.

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

Tackanash, teacher of the first church and after its division pastor of the church at Edgartown, was the most distinguished of the Indian preachers and was deemed the superior of Hiacoomes in both natural and acquired abilities. He possessed considerable talents and was exemplary in his life. Allowing himself few diversions he studied much and seemed to advance in piety as he became more acquainted with the truths of the gospel. In, p l rer he was devout and fervent. He was faithful in his instructions\,and repr09fs, strict in the dissipline of his church, excluding the immoral from the ordinances until they repented. So much was he respected that the English at Edgartown, when deprived of their own minister, teceived the Lord's supper from            his hand.

Says the Rev. E;xperience Mayhew:

The last time Tackanash administered the holy ordinance, I was

present,  nd saw with what gravity and seriousnes,s he perform d the d ty, which, though .then a youth, I could nC?t but specially notice, as did many other English persons present. He was then indeed so weak in body as not to be able himself to preach, but desired my father [Rev. John Ma)'hew] to preach fOr him, which he did [in the IndiaJ;! lan­guage], ahd immediately repeated to the English then ptesent the heads of his discourse. After this our Tackanash was never able 'further to exercise his mini try in public.

This good man, and one of th,e great converts of the Mayhews, died in hi!> faith and was interred January 23, 1683, two years after the death of the governor j , m urned on the islands and tbe continent by those who knew him. Like a true Puritan on his death-bed he "gave goqd instructions and exhor, ations to his own family and such as came to visit him." Hewas a splendid example ofthe accomplish­ment of English influence, but unfortunately the greater numbers of

his race were lacking in, the qualities that placed him thei  superior.

A  reat concourse of people attended his funeral. In t ad of the howlings of the multitude, the gibberish of powwows, and pagan rites, a funeralor ,tion grave and  , ri ?s was preached o,:er his9,ogy by t e ancient Hiacoomes who, although too feeble to perform regularly the duties of a pastor, returned from retirement to do honor to his departed colleague.

Japheth Hannit made also a "grave speech," some of the heads of

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

which were preserved. These present a picture of the Indian mind III

respect to Christianity:We ought [said he] to be very thankful to God for sending t h gospel to us, who were in utter blindness and ignorance, both we 1and and our fathers. Our fathers' fathers, and their fathers, and we wcre "'that time utterly without any means whereby we might attain it.knowledge of the only true God.  "Before we knew God, when any man died we said the man is dent!

neither thought we anything further, but said he is dead, and mOUI'lIdll

for him, and buried him j but now it is far otherwise, for noW thl.

good man being dead, we have hope towards God concerning hit II,

believing that God hath received him into everlasting rest.

Japheth, favored by the author of "Indian Converts," with the till..

"Mr.," succeeded to the office of Tackanash and Hiacoomes, becomllllA

the third pastor of the Indian church at Martha's Vineyard. At lh.

ordination of Japheth, the superannuated Hiacoomes again appell!"o!!

publicly. "He laid hands on Mr. Japhet, prayed and gave the Chnl'I&'

to him; which Service he performed with great Solemnity."

We are told that Japheth's father becoming a serious and Godly

man by conversion, the son had the advantage of a Christian educatlull

while he was a child, living in a family "where God was daily WOl'

shipped." He married the daughter of a very Godly Indian. Shl1

proved a very pious person "and did him good and not evil all the dny. .

of her life." With these a vantages Japheth, after the gathering of

the Indian Church in 1670 "made a public profession of repentnncl1

towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, and jOitHILI

as a member in full communion." He was for a considerable tillitl

employed in offices civil and military, being captaip. of a military COni'

pany and later a magistrate. In both offices he acted to the accept

ance of English and Indians. His death in 1712 removed one of Ih.

great Indian preachers of the church founded by Thomas Mayhew.

The ruling elders of the church were men well approved' amolll&

both English and Indians. John Nahnoso was known as AiuKkll

muaeninoug, the Man of Reproofs, for the carefulness with which h(l

admonished sinners and offenders against the discipline of the chul'ch He died "universally esteemed a good Man." Joshua Momatchcjlln,

the second elder, was a resident of Chappaquiddick. He lived to MUI. vive all his colleagues of the first church.

Religion falling into great decay among the English of Chappn

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

quiddick, so it was among the Indians, insomuch that in a short time there were very few "godly persons" left there. "The Candlestick which had been there being removed out of its Place," and the Indians unchurched, the place was "filled with Drunkards instead of the Good People who had before inhabited it," and these were continually sup­plied, with the hot liquors by which they were debauched, from the very place whence the people of that district had formerly received the good instructions and exhortations which had been a medium of their happiness.

Momatchegin, nevertheless, held fast and "tho there was such a Flood of strong Drink, as drowned most of the People in the Place where he lived, yet he kept wholly free from any Excess in the Use of those Liquors by which his Neighbors were destroyed."

At the ceremonies that established the Vineyard church were pres­ent a number of Nantucket Indians, among them the teacher of the praying Indians of that island. There were at this time ninety families on Nantucket that prayed to God. A number of these joined in full worship at Martha's Vineyard, who later became a church of them­selves at Nantucket. Mayhew speaks of this church as one which "relates to me," being as he meant an off-shoot of the Vineyard church, and under his missionary supervision.

The first, light of the G6spelcame to Nantucket by means of the

Mayhews and Hiacoomes. Governor Mayhew, in 1674, writes that he had "very often, these thirty-two years, been at Nantucket," which takes us back to the year of his purchase of the island, and before its settlement by the English.

No great missionary progress was made at Nantucket during the lifetime of the younger Mayhew. From early accounts the native inhabitants appear to have been a murderous and less tractable people than their neighbors at Martha's Vineyard, but this may have been due to the fact that they were far removed from the seat of English influ­ence and subject only to occasional visits from the Mayhews. They failed to adopt the white man's religion to any great extent until the settlement of the island by Tristram Coffin and the company of first proprietors. The Indians then so marvelled at the white man's supe­rior knowledge and'mode of living that they sought a teacher to come among them to teach them the new life,

In 1664 the Apostle Eliot wrote that "sundry places in the country

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 THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

are ripe for labourers," whose Indian inhabitants intreat that some or

their countrymen be sent unto them to teach them, whereof "one of tha

brethren of the Church at Martins Vinyard is called by the Nantukot Indians to teach them." And because no soldier. goes to war at his own

expense, Eliot promised several of these militant bearers of the Cro..

  t they should be completely outfitted with new clothes-shocl,

stockings, a coat and neckcloth-a costume sadly missing inta ne. es8nry garment to any but the Indian eye.

The Indian ordered from Martha's Vineyard to Nantucket, In

response to the request for apostles, was Samuel, a schoolma8tor

employed at the Vineyard as an assistant to Thomas Mayhew. Th

Commissioners at their annual meeting voted ten pounds "More to M'

Mahew to dispose to Samuell sent to Natuckett and other deseruein"

Indians there."

It is known that Mayhew at one time sent what' he termed II  vnderstanding Indians thither purposely, whose goeing was very UIO' full in severall respects too longe to recite." Whether these four emissaries were sent before or after Samuel, and whether theypreachod

their doctrine openly, or quietly diffused the new religion in the Indinu

ranks, cannot be said.

The work at Nantucket progressed with success. Says Gooklll,

 'The Indians upon this island sow English as well as Indian corn, spill .

and knit stockings, and are more industrious than many other Indian.. The truth is," he adds, with a show of philosophy, "the Indians,both

upon the Vineyard and Nantucket are poor; and, according as tho

scripture saith, do more readily receive the gospel and become rell.

gious. The rules of religion teach them to be diligent and industriou'l

and the diligent hand maketh rich, and adds no sorrow,with it."

The pastor of the first church at Nantucket was AssassamooQh,

known to the English by the less difficult name of John Gibbs. He wn.

Thomas Mayhew's prime convert on this island. By 1674 the church

had admitted thirty members to full communion; the men' in fellow.

ship being twenty and the women ten-a ratio of sexes in reverse o(

that customarily the rule in church societies. Forty children and youth.

had been baptised and three hundred Indians, young and old, prayed

to God and kept holy the Sabbath day.

Oggawome was the meeting place of the Indian church, a location nearly abreast of the fifth milestone on theSiasconset Road. It i8 In

the neighborhood of modern Plainfield, and was one of the largelt

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Indian villages on the island. Here John Gibbs for twenty-five years preached to his countrymen by the waters of the pond that still bears his name, Gibbs Pond.

Elsewhere meetings were held, presided over by Indian teachers­Joseph, Samuel, and Caleb; the latter master of the Indian school. The school was conducted in the Indian tongue, but Caleb confided to Gookin an earnest desire to read and understand English and entreated that dignitary to procure him an$nglish Bible, which was accordingly done by order of the commissioners. .Like numerous others of May­hew's best converts, Caleb was the son of an Indian prince.

Shortly after the governor's death there were two Indian churches of the Congregational persuasion and one Baptist church at N anrucket. All three traced their origin to the first Indian church of Martha's Vineyard.

It is a startling fact that for nearly half a century after the settle­ment of the island of Nantucket the only Christian churches in the community were those gathered among the Indians. Unlike the rulers of Massachusetts, Thomas Mayhew made no effort to compel the set­tlements to establish churches. An aristocracy of saints was not set up and church membership was not a prerequisite to the ballot. Thomas Mayhew was a man of deeE reliJ ious instincts, but he also believed in freedom of thought in matters touching man's relation to God.

The early settlers of Nantucket are known to have been men of definite reHgious convictions, but differing widely in doctrinal beliefs, they determined to let each go his own ecclesiastical way. A diversity of beliefs prevented the formation of an early church. In after years the island became a Quaker stronghold-the natural outcome of an independent spiritual attitude.

A number of the early settlers, including Peter Folger, were Ana­baptists. The members of this s ct tried at first to hinder the Inp,ians from administering baptismal rites to infants, but were soon prevailed on to be "quiet and meddle not" with missionary activities. The Bap­tist churches at Gay Head and Nantucket are said to be the fruition of Folger's teachings.

                A picture of an Indian church in 1792 portrayed by a Quaker may

suffice to give a glimpse of the native mode of worship:

                I will say something more in recommendation of some of our old

Indian natives. They were very solid and sober at their meetings of

 

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worship, and carrie

 

,d on in the form of Presbyterians, bp

 

,t,in one thin" they imitated the Friends or Quakers, so called; whi h. was to hohl meetings on the first day of the week and on the fifth day of the wllak, and attended their meetings very precisely. I have been at their meetings many times and seen their devotion; and it was remallkllbly solid; and I could understand the most of what was said: andl thoy always placed us in a suitable seat tlJ sit;, <Ind they were not put out hy' our coming in, but rather appeared glad t'o see ,us. A minister is callad cooutaumuchary. And when the meeting was done; they would tllie. their tinder-box and strike fire and light their pipes, and, may b" would draw three or four whifsand swallow the smoke, and thenbltiW it out of their noses, and so hand their pipes to their next.neighbor. And one"pipe of tobacco would serve ten or a dozen of th p1. And they would say "tawpoot," which is, "I thank you." It seemed to bo done in a way of kindness to each other.

It has been said of the Puritan missionaries of New England thftt had they been satisfied with the "coining" of Christians by bapoi8lu they could have greatly increased the number of nominal converts.

Notwithstanding the high standards of conduct set by the mission. aries, the progress and numbers of converted Indians in the New enll' land missions compare favorably with those elsewhere" Companison may be made with the famous California missions, the first of which was established in 1769, one hundred and twenty-six years after tho conversion of Hiacoomes.        '               .

Although the Indian population of Calif()rnia was large, tho growth of the missions was not fast. By the end of the fifth year tho five Spanish missions had a total of 491 baptismal converts, and< or these it is believed only sixty-two in the territory were adults. "1i'ncu slender results in such a populous field seem even more signific!lIIt when analysed," says Professor Charles E. Chapman, the well-known historian of Spanish-California. An average of five or six adults 1\ year at a mission was all that had been obtained, and three mission. in fact had few or no adult neophytes.

The one Vineyard mission in 165 I, with only the private' support of the Mayhews, had in that year 199 men, women, and children who professed themselves worshippers of the Christian God, and amona these were included Indian chieftains and powwows.

In referring to the methods and successes of the several mission. ary projects in America, differences of culture, religious practices and

 

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 THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

beliefs, geographical conditions, and Indian attitude have each their

place. True and valuable comparisons are difficult.

However, admitted differences in the methods of the Spanish and English missions existed in several respects. The Spaniards in Cali­fornia brought the Indian to the mission, where he lived and labored upon rich farms for the communal benefit of those of his race who accepted the faith. No pretense,of purchase of these farms was made, and Indians who refused to accept the faith were not allowed to share in the fruits of their own lands. In New England the mission was of necessity brought to the Indian and not the Indian to the mission. Ter­ritory did not exist in areas of sufficient fertility to warrant the estab­lishment of mission plantations. Indian towns were established, but in the main the Indians of Martha's Vineyard were taught in their own villages.

The instruction of the Indian in the science of self-government did not receive the approbation of the Spanish missionaries, but it was attempted by them in a limited degree because of the insistence of the civil authorities. The Spaniard was monarchical in his ideas of gov­ernment and hierarchical in religion. He cared little for the princi­ples of Magna Charta and the "libe ties" which every Englishman con­sidered a part of his personal rights, and for which he would spend a

lifetime in politics or war t6,protect. This was, of course, due to a

difference in cultural background and viewpoint.

According to Fr. Engelhardt, author of an elaborate history of the California missions, the Spanish missionaries believed in teaching very little book knowledge to the California Indian, who was mentally of an inferior type. Stress instead was laid on manual labor and skilled craftsmanship. The education of the Indian was warranted to prove practical and useful to him in his life at the mission.

The methods of the mission system in California have not escaped criticism. A less severe critic than many, Dr. Chapman, writes: "Dis­cipline was strict and severe. Native officials inflicted whippings or other penalties upon the recalcitrant, by order of.the missionaries, but the more serious offences were turned over for punishment to the cor­poral of the guard. Unaccustomed either to working or to submission to discipline the Indians often endeavored to run away, but were pur­sued and brought back. To lessen the opportunity of escape, walls were constructed around the mission, and the Indians were locked up

 

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Little has been written of the missionary labors of the English and much about the Spai).iard. An unhappy balance has been the ,result in the public mind. This is increased by Mr;, Charles F. Lummis who, in an effort to present the Spaniardin "a favorable light, finds it neces­sary to speak" slightingly of John Eliot and to ignore the,existence of other English missionaries. Mr. LUIJ,!mis has made the astounding state­ment that Eliot had no "imitators,";lmplying that missionary work by the English was carried on qy Eliot alone, and that",it came to ani,end with his death.                '

The same ajIthor suggests that, his ,xeaders fancy Massachusetts with twenty-one indust6al",schools for Indians, each with fivff, hundreq, to three thousand pupils (such being th ", number and population of th ; Spanish missions in California at""one time) "but he fails to ,calll'atten­tion to the fact that statistics place the number of Indians in California from 50,000 to ,,15(;1.000. In all sout eastern New England'i,thatis, the colonies of the Massachuset   Bay, Plymouth, and, the present states of R,hode Island and Connecticut, there were in the first days of settlement no more Jijan a few thousand Indians. Naturally the Eng­

lish could not obtain great I:\Mmbers'of converts, but theydidi,pbtain a

high percentage of the population, probably greaterin proportion than did the Franciscans in California.

The territory embraced)n the present state of Massachusett  not only was sparsely populaJed ,:with Indians, but its geograpijic area is roughly one-twentieth that of present California. An effort to detract from the earnestness and a,bility of.. the Puritan missionari s by a numerical comparison of, converts'without regard' to areas"ancf popula­tion is not short of ridiculous.

The several missions  f Mayhew, Eliot, Tupper, Bourne, and Cotton, c9mpare favorably with, any five of the twenty-one Sp\mish­California missions. "Laperouse is authority for the statement that in 1789, seventeen years after the foundation of the first  alifornia mis­sion, the number of converted or domesticated Indians was 5,143. This gives an average of between five and six hundred converts per mission. In 1802 eighteen Spanish missions had 15,562 converts"rangingfrom 437 to 1,559 Indians each. Statistic  of the New England missions are scant, but it is known thatiin 1674Eliot had 1,100 praying Indians under his care, the Revs. Bourne and Cotton 7°0 in Plymouth Colony, and Mayhew, 1,800 converts. 200

 

THOMAS MAYHEW, PATklARCH TO INDIANS

 

 

 

CHAPTER XVIII

 

THE WAR OF EXTIRPATION

On the 24th of June, 1675, King Philip opened his long cherished war for the extermination of the English by the sack of S'\Yansea. Whatever is the ill repute of Governor Andros in New England his­tory he was an officer of administrative ability, and upon Philip's threat responded with a promptness and efficiency to a degree laudable when compared with the military helplessness of many of the governors of colonial America. Andros was an untactful but well meaning cavalry officer. An aristocratic servant of the Stuarts, he was only popular in America while governor of Virginia, but as. a man he was honest, faithful to his masters, and endowed with an administrative ability that deserves better of historians than has been his fortune.

There was stir and bustle in the early morning scene at Fort James on the day when the fate of New England hung by a thread. News that the Indians were in arms in Plymouth Colony reached Andros by

letter from Governor Winthrop at "About 3 o'clock" on the morning

\

of July 2J..           '

At that hour the messenger on the King's service drew rein before the massive gates of the fort. 'He was met with the sharp challenge of a sentry, there was an exchange of voices, a hurriedly opened gate, the muffled tread of footsteps across parade ground and court yard, an uncanny knock on the governor's chamber, voices, whispers, orders, cries, the sound of feet, the sharp staccato of a trumpet in the stilly night-unreal, chilling-excited inquiries, running feet, soldiers falling into line,.rumors, a word hurriedly whispered from file to file, an elec­tric current through the lines, INDIANS. It was a scene not uncommon in colonial days.

Andros awaited qo massacre of inhabitants in outlying towI:!s, but proceeded to set his province in order. He immediately dispatched a letter in reply to Winthrop to be carried "in Post Hast" from con­stable to constable until its destination should be reached. In the let­ter the New York governor conveyed his intent to march that night with a force of men to the Connecticut River, "his Royall Highnesse Bounds there."

 

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THOMAS MAYHEW,'PATRIARCH TO INDiANS

 

It is typical of the colonial governors that although servant  of, th. same king, in an hourpf Reril they would con,timle to press their sevarlll claims ,ioxterritory; Both Andros and Winthrop claimed the" territol'Y west of?ithe Connecticut River as part of their" respectiye colonies. In

repaiting t(),theriver Andro was furth ring the Idurisdictiomrl clahlla

of' his mas'teras W,ell as iaffording 'military protection to:'1,jt eking'l

subi cts'i!'I'          . ',,:

Governor Andros and his tro?ps wereht a)'brook o ,  heeighth,

whe s "  ,, }' fpund "nothing to fear:" on the Indian  ccount. ' The gOY'

ernor iaccdrdingly ordered one ofii.histransport sl60ps t;i'-st}Vard On II cruise for'jntelligence, and dispatched letters to Win'i:hrop and the !(uy. ernor,of Massachusetts. He then crossed over the, soul1d;'to the town. on"the eastward of Long Island, where h<;..conducted a tour o(mi1!tlu'y inspectiOn on hi  return down the island to New York,. At Southohl he, ordered a sloop t9 Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, wi h t'Wu

barr ls of powder, twenty-fiv.;,r fuuskets,all; "seyenskc:;ins ofam,a.tchall

The fear of Andros for the s fety of his eastward iten.. tories Will ne d ess. The, situation ,, t Martha/s Yineyard"arid Narttucket was th.

pastel shade ip. the crimson picture of Philip's War. '" .i\11;,

At the outbre ,k of the war the question uppermost irithe mind8 or

                the settlers, was whether the. converted ".Indians would remain ,truo to

                '..','         ',.            '               I

the English government which they professed. Never was.an OppCIl"

tunitysq, fayorably pres'ented a people to,throw off a yokeJ,pd' tho"

allegiance to the", new religioq and'governmerit been anythirig !bul 1\

,'voluntary " nd happy sub'mission. To one who 'as s, was ,the miS8lou.

ary 'York .,of .th,  M,fIYhe.ys a s);!.csess ? Was the conversion oi1l the India,ns a heartfelt acce'pti\:hce of the white man's civil,izatiop or. Will it a sup rficial,conversion acsprpplished by tprce, brihhy; or cajol I'Y I The ansvyer lies in t econduct 'of the/island Indians during Klnl( Philip's War.,!

Elsewhere ,in N'ew Enghllld attempt w s made, where,yer feasihl/O,

to disarm the Indians, but at Martha's Vineyard an'unheafa' of, atOI' w<1;s ta en. Instead of disarming the native inha.)iIitants  GoveruOl Mayhew was emboldened to arm those among,th   Indians whom 1111

especi lly truste,  as faithful adherents", of t e English. .'

li'he feasibility of an lndian"militia Mayhew h db,.roaCl1ed mRny years before to the commissioners of the United CoI6ni 's, who in rO lly warned'hi,m th'at"for the training,. of the Indians and f rni1hing thQlI1

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ill!

 

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TH0MAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS '.

',l' ..'"

with guns, powd i- and shott; wt:;et"a:re not free ,but wish"rather it might

bee wholly restrained:"                "

The goverporofMartha's Vineyard knew the temperament of his

converts and,;When,Philip's War qroke out\\felt justilied, as a means of,

defense, in raising',the military est, b,l_ishment proposed by, him nearly two decades before. Be accordinglYi,enlist d a company 9f Foot among the red men"Fm dwith powde),!",and ball",an,g under the command of Indian officers." The Indians being "improv' d" a .  guard;" "he gave

them instruction how to manage fOr".theco mons fe'ty." It was the

first Indian company o(tJ,:oops under British"colors commanded by a native captain.      ,,"           "

On the island of Martha's Viney rd, as else'f.here, there wen;, many English who,, uffered th mselves to, be. unreason,ably ex spe   ed against"all Indians" to  J1ch ,an extent that theycould hardly libe restrained by the governor and those,.,  ssociated in government with him from attempting to disarm, the natives, who greatly outnumhered the whites in a ratio of abojlt twepty to one.

To allay the fears of the timid and to satisfy the doubtful, the

                ,,",          .               ,

governor orde ,ed "captain Richard Sarson, Esq.," with a smalhcom­pany of, English, to march to Jhe west end of;"the island, where resided the Indians,whpse loy tlty was'f'nost to be doubted, to treat with them concerning their attitude tovvard ,the war  C ptain"Sarson acco.rdirtgly marched his copmand to Gay H ,adi the last stronghold of the ,pow­wows, where lived many of the V}q yard Indians.

Although the"tribes of the island had at one ti e been"tribute to princes on, the, continent and subject' to King Philip, ,the chief'men of the place met the military embassy with a protestation of friendship. They answered the enquiries of the captain by saying"that. the Indians engaged in thewa , against the English,,)Vere not less the enemies of the English than theirs. They ex,pressed sorrow that their English neighbors had  e,en fit to suspect their fidelity, stating that they had never given occasion to arouse the distrust intimated. But for deliver­ing up th ir afms, this they did not thii1k wise to do as disarmament

would le,ave t em expose,d to the, will bf the warring!Indi ' slon t 

neighboring continent. They st t d tlpt "if in anything not hazard­ing their safety, they coulq,give any satisfaction for th  proof of their fidelity, they would willingly attend wh, t sho Jd reasonably be demanded of them; but they were ,unwilling to deliv r their arms,

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO. INDIANS

 

unless the English would propose some mean for their safety andi livt!

lihood." I

With this they drew up a writing in their own language, the 8ub,

stance of which was "that as they had submitted 'to the crown of'l /lV'

land, so they resolved to assist the English on these islands against tholt enemies, which they esteem'd in the same respect-equally their own, It' subjects of the same king which was subscrib'd by the persons of'tht! greatest note among them."

It was then that the governor proceeded with his plan to estrel1l1Mh an Algonquin military guard.

The news of Mayhew's comportment was received by the peop!" of Nantucket with disapproval. o.n that island theYipersonal influclI ' of the missionary-governor among the Indians was less potent. Th. men of Nantucket town recalled stories of war, fire, and rapine thAI

came from the mainland, of sleeping villages which had been ravII/roti at night, and women and children fiendishly tortured, slain, or caNlod into captivity. These tales recalled memories of murders perpetl'!\tl'!d by the Indians of Nantucket upon. English sailors and shipwteckocl travelers; the inhabitants counted their weak numbers and wel1e con.

:Vinced that a general uprising of the island Indians would indubitltbly

wipe out their settlement.

At Nantucket the situation was intensified by the conduct of" tlllI

English inhabitants themselves. As has been related in prior chap,tcrlt

political feuds and jealousies had the island in their throes. Run,,'r was rampant among the Indians that there was no longer government among the English. The respect of the native for the function oilpw and order and his belief in the ability of the whites to rule was blldly shaken.

For the safety of the island a number of inhabitants composed II let. ter to Governor Andros in which they recited the defenseless condition of Nantucket and their fear of ill consequences "upon the IndCYlln. Trayning in Armes on Martins Vineyard." The writers commented on the great strength of the Indians on both Martha's Vineyard IInd Nantucket and expressed a desire that Andros should send the inhnbl, tants a "Couple of great guns, & halfe a dousen Sould's."

About this time Andros received also a letter from Simon Athelll'n, of Martha's Vineyard, who was always capable of giving advice, sollalt ing an order that "no person or persons be suffered to let anylll1dlftll

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THo.MAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO. INDIANS

 

or Indians have any powder in the e perilous times." If Athearn had been governor of Martha's Vineyard, there is little doubt but that his request would have been necessary.

As it was, the letters had a logical sound, and Andros ordered a cannon each to be delivered to the islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard and that copies of "y. Proclamation concerning y. Indyans, of keeping Watches, erecting Block-houses &c" should be sent to the inhabitants.

Throughout the war the English officials of Nantucket affected a carriage towards the Indians of confidence, pretending no distrust, although, reports chief magistrate Thomas Macy, "we haue heard now and then a Word. . . . which we haue not liked but haue over­looked the same." The cool head of Thomas Macy was of great bene­fit tOJhe inhabitants at this time.'

o. e of Macy's early moves was the confiscation of liquor on the island that the natives might not be kept "like wild Beares and Wolves in the Wildernese." It was this move that aroused the antagonism of John Gardner and others temporarily out of governmental power. Gardner had a half barrel of "Rd'in" taken from him which he could well have used. Suppression of the liquor traffic was difficult. Some of the inhabitants would purchase liquor from traders coming to the island, ostensibly for their\pwn consumption, but actUally for resale to the Indians. It was Macy's suggestion that the governor of New York issue an order prohibiting the sale of liquor by masters of visiting vessels and that the island justices be empowered to regulate the sale of strong drink in small quantities "for the moderate use of the Eng­lish here, or for Indians in case of distresse."

Dangerous and troublesome times passed without bloodshed. It is traditional that a number of Indians brought guns and a cow to the Nantucket court, as testimony of their fidelity to the English. Control of the liquor traffic was effectuated and although the right of some of the planters to keep and sell liquor was temporarily infringed, their lives and the lives of their neighbors were thereby made safe.

The efforts of King Philip to arouse his countrymen on the islands failed. The region of Gay Head was frequently visited during the war by Indians from the continent coming to the islands to solicit mem­bers of their race, in many instances related by marriage or blood, to rise against the English. Again and again these envoys were captured

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THOMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

 

vand brought before Governor Mayhew by his native militia men to attend his pleasure. So faithful were the members of the Indian com­pany to the local English government that the European inhabitants of the island took little heed of their own defense, but left it mainly to these Christian Indians to warn them of approaching danger, not doubting to be advised by them of any danger from the enemy.

"Thus while the war was raging on the neighboring continent, these islands enjoyed a perfect calm of peace, and the people dwelt secure and quiet. This was the genuine and happy effect of Mr. May­hew the governor's excellent conduct, and of the introduction of the Christian religion among them."

 

/208

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CHAPTER XIX

THE PRAYING TOWNS

No phase 'in the  story of the struggle of the Ihdi n to att in,the

white man's civilization is,,,more picturesque than that which relates to the foundation oflndian"townsat l\1arth,a's Vineyard and Nantucket, where self-governrp-ent was exercised by the inhabitants und t, princi­ples that reached Jar into the , antiquity of English history-,; p'

To the outward eye the, Praying Indian ",differed little from the savage, but in philosophy of life a wide variation placed him "a thing apart from those of his race who clung to the old beliefs. The Christian Indi n spoke things not unde'rstood by his unconverted country­men. Naturally he sought to live"in congregations.

In the winter of 1659 th(': "sachem Josi<ts of Takemmy granted,the., praying Indians of his sachemship a tract of land one mile square for their exclusive use, on payment of twenty shillings yearly to himself. This was the beginning of the Indian town of Christiantown, whichfor 228 years w,as th  home of p raying Indians. In '19 IO its laS'i: inhabi­

tants were lvrr.joseph Mingo, his .wife, and widowed son, S muel.

Mr. Mingo is described at'the time as being over eighty years of age "and as straight as an arr'qw:" il'!'

The verbal grant of Christian'i:own,. or Manitouwattootan, stood for ,a decade upon common report. In time a number of English planters commenced the purchase of lands in Takemmy for the settle­ment of Middletown. The sale by Josias of the rich fields of Takemmy aroused"the anger of his pagan subjects, who realizedthat,they would not profit in the bargains made by him, but would only lose their lands.

Between J6 ia's and his braves constant quarrelings became the

order 9f the day. Conditions reache,  such proportioll's"that' Thomas

Mayhew concluded to call a great cpnclave of the natives to thre,sh out their difficulties. A day was set when all facti ns'met ill'the p esence of the patentee. We are told by an English eye-wiihess thatthe argu­ment between the sachem and his subjects at the powwow became so heated "that' mr Thomas Mayhew Esqr" had' "very much adoe to quiet the Indi' ns."An understanding was effectuated through the good graces of the"patentee, and it was agreed by the sachem that no

 

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THo.MAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO. INDIANS.

further land should be sold the English without the consent and appro. bation of trustees appointed to act for the tribe as a whole. These trustees were six in number; five of them being Indians and the othel' Mr.. Thomas Mayhew.

In part the agreement provided that "It is absolutely agreed by us Thomas Mayhew, KiteanUl:nin [i. e.) J osias J, Tichpit, TeequinomiIr, Papamick and Joseph, and wee doe hereby promise for our heirs and successors that all the lands in Takemmy that is not sold unto the Eng­lish shall remain unsold for the use of the Indians of Takemmy a1'ld their heirs forever; except the said Thomas Mayhew, Kiteanumin, Tichpit, Teequinomin, Papamick and Joseph their heirs successors doc

all and everie one of them consent to the sale thereof of any part oil the same;"

At the conclave, the sachem Josias also confirmed 'his verbaf grant! of Christiantown to the praying Indians, "and ever since the sd MeM­ing," concludes our informant, "it hath generaly been esteemed to bc the Indians and called by the name of the Indian Town."

Thomas Mayhew drew up the following statement for perm.anent record:

J osias and Wannamanhutt Did in my Presence give the Praying Indians a Tract of Land for a Town and Did Committ the Govell11;.

ment Thereof into my hand and Posteritie fOTever: the Bounds ;f the

said Land is on the North sid of Island bounded by the land. called Ichpoquassett and so to the Pond called Mattapaquattonooke and.into' the island so far as Papamaks fields where he planted and now Plants' or soes: it is as broad in the woods as by the Seaside.

The form of government instituted by Thomas Mayhew at Chris­

tiantown was probably one suited to the monarchical customs of the Indians, and was democratized as the inhabitants grew in cap bility for self-government. It may be supposed that petty courts were erected for the trial of trivial matters, presided over by Indian magis­trates, with power of appeal to English justices, as this was the practice of the governor in other Indian plantations where "a happy govern.. ment" was settled among the Indians and records kept of all actions and acts passed "in their several coutts, by such who having learn'd..to write fairly, were appointed thereto."

.Scant are the records of Christian town, and the history of its judi­cial and administrative affairs is gleaned from occasional documentS

 

 

I

 

:II

 

210

 

I"I ,

 

I

 

THo.MAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO. INDIANS

 

and papers. As early as 1690 mention is made of an Indian magis­trate in the town and in 1703 Stephen Nashokow was "Justice of peace for the Indians of Takymmy." In 1696, Isaac Ompanit, Stephen N ashokow, and o.badiah Paul, trustees, refer to the rights "of them­selves and body politick as a town." S.tephen was a preacher as well as a justice of the peace. Experience Mayhew writes of Isaac o.mpanit, he "was a Magistrate as well as a Minister among his own Country­men, and faithfully discharged the Duties of that Office, according to the best of his Skill and Judgment, not being a Terror to good Works, but to those thalt were Evil."

For a number of years the Indians of Christiantown remained under the general supervision of successive members of the Mayhew family. After the governor's death, his grandsons, Thomas and Mat­thew, were prominent in their civil affairs. In time the Indians of the island as a tribe came under the guardianship of the English Sdciety for the Propagation of the Gospel in material as well as spiritual mat­ters. Occasionally agents were appointed by the provincial, and later the state government, of Massachusetts to act for the Indians in certain capacities relating to their legal rights. Many of these agents or "guardians" as they were called were members of the Mayhew family in name or blood, carrying on the traditions of their family.

Early among these was Major Paine Mayhew, a great-grandson of the governor, who in 1727,was one of the attorneys "To the Honor­able the Company for Propagating the Gospel & etc." He was Com­missioner of Indians at Chappaquiddick appointed to prosecute claims on their behalf, and was also Guardian of Indians for Dukes County. o.ther guardians were Colonel Zaccheus Mayhew, Dr. Matthew May­hew, Deacon Timothy Mayhew, Dr. Thomas Mayhew, and after the Revolution, William Mayhew, librarian of Harvard College, Nathan­iel Mayhew, Simon Mayhew, Esq., and another William Mayhew, in 1813.

 

N oTE:-Paine Mayhew, born 1677, died 176.1. Within one htmdred years of his death

was born an unusual number of nationally known descendants, a number of whom gained

world-wide recognition. Descendants include Major-General William Jenkins Worth,

the Mexican \:Var hero; Lucretia Matt, founder of the woman's movement; Mde. Lillian

Nordica, prima donna; "Camp Meeting" John Allen, a most popular clergyman of his

day in America; Rev. Charles F. Allen, D. D., first president of the University of

Maine; James Athearn Jones, one of the leading minor authors of the early nineteenth

century; Cyrus Butler, founder of the Butler Hospital for the humane treatment of the insane at Providence, Rhode Island; Hon. Henry L. Dawes, United States Senator from

Massachusetts, author of Indian. bi11s; Dr. Walter Hillman, co11ege president, in whose honor was named Hillman College, Mississippi; and Hon. \Valter Folger Brown,

postmaster-general of the United States under President Hoover.

 

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THOMASMAYHEW;"PATRIARCH TO INDIAN

In 173'1 Experience Mayhew as agent for the Ina.i ns of ChristhLnIi town procured a grant from the provincial Gene lal C;§urt gratl'ting tha

praying Indians of Christiantown the fight to elect officers for tl\.econ.

duct of India  affairs, making legal under'theMassachusetts govern­

ment th practice that had been in vogue under the M yhews.",

Tge eafter "L gal1 Town Meetings',: are of record presided over

                by,moderators and their busiri'e s"recorded by town clerks. The inha:bi.

tants, however, continued under the supervision 'of gua rians'and

missionaries.

Chr:i .tiantown was essentially a religious comfuunity.Acl:o"rdingly

a me $irlg house w,\s erected for' th ' Indi ns"aurirfg t e gov .rnol1:slii6'e'

time. ".' Prior to this event the Mayhew , in rri'aking thl'=, circtIit or Indiariplantations, had.'preached to the natives}!} their'\vigwams or in the d en fields when weather permitted. In the wobds a joiI;\ing

the simple church, the,lilQians'in" later years placed agre t sQuare

stone,"knowri"'as the Mayhew horse bl ck; h assist the missio afl s in

                ,. .           '               '1m

mounting their horses.

After Governoi'Mayh,ew'"S"death the original church stniCture   aB

replaced by another. In "17:/2 two flagons "of silver" were ,pre eRtea

the n 'tive congregation by the sOciety of the qld South,Churcli of.! Boston, through the influ'ence ot'Experience'.'Mayhew. j, p' '.

Experience H£s ,left an accpBpt of a number of theil dian:",sp verts

of Christiantown.,iContempor'ary with thegov'emor ,was'"]ohn'ffiAmaJl1."

hut, , '   of Wannamanhut,fhe sachem. John ,was ai' preach,, r,ri he

town and intum was the!Jather'C'of a still more illustrious preadier,

Hosea Manhut,' ordained pastor of "the Indian Church attheM}¥est

End" M'the island. Other naJive preacher , at Chiistiarit *n iri.the

gq,verri'or's day were,Joel Sims who died abo\,J.t t e year 1680 "much"

lamented"and James Sepinnu, i brother of TaEhna h. '. 

The first to exercise the office of a minister to 'the people'pfi,Clfrfa. tiantown was Wunnanauhkomun. He  as well c°'tnected by marriage "in<tge Indian way." His wife was a. d.aughter of Cheshch l m9g, tRe

sach mN Hoines Hole and .asisterotCaleb Ches,,!}cnaa!llog, th grad

uate of H<J:fvard College. Her Indian name!! w'as AmmapQ9, ,M,t

among the '.English she was called AbigaiL "Sh,e used, while,  'r hJ:is"

band liv d, to pray in the family in hi  absence, and frequently ga e

good  o  sel to her children." Of ' death she would sometime'sspe k

"as the han  of God, by which,. hi  people "::,ere removed into a b1tter

                212

 

 THdMAS MAYHEW, PATRIARCH TO INDIANS

                " "}'

 

place than this; and would also call it a ferryman, by which we have

our passage oufof this life into the neit."              ,

The m' sf re' arkablefamily in,Chri tiantown W"!cs that of Shoh­kow. T

 

.he progenitor"iof this family was a praying Indian of Takemmy

                ,.             "iI', '       .               '!!..'        ,

called'Nashbkow. He had five sons, all of whom became Indian

preachers on the island. I;Iis son .Micahswas in early life "a lover of strong Drink," but reforming in"after years, "frequt:nt y preached to

the Indians onth  i land," especially those in the to'\VI). in which he

lived and died; Stephen, heretofore m  tiol).ed,  as 'k:;ougrt up "in

a piou  English family," where he received an,r,education. The  t er

sons were preachers and esteemed for':"piety." ,

A noted Indian was Old Paul, who was "genefally esteemed, a godly Mim" andil,"without any Sta,in in his Life and Conve' sation."

An Indian  l ssifi,ed as one of the,;"Go()q Men" of the island' wa  J2

Somannan, of mixed antec dents, liisiather being a praying Indian and his mother \! heathen. He was t'imghtto read iri his native tpngue anq later learnfd to read,md write in English. I-Ie became a schoolmaster

and "a gr  tLover of good Books,",:'yet, he: had "such Apprehensions

of tl:J.e l{oliness thatwa !!.necessary to qualify Perspns for the Enjoy­ment'of Churc4"Privileges, that he thought it not safe for him to venture  o lay claims unto, them."

It mustn?t be th:oughl,that all native preacQt:rs on the island were

ordained cler,gymen. Experit:ns,  M,&yhew classifies ruling"" elders and deacons il!- th(': s me category as"willj"al?pear the more natura1.when I

have said th t!A, the/Indian chur$ es both ruling elders ,;wd deacons

have generally been preachers of the. word of God, though they have

been only chosen.ana set apart tp the offices by which tlieymre denom­

inated." The m' j,o ity of tho  ' whopreached in the syverahtqwns of

the island were lay ministeI:s and teache'i-s. Ordination was' an, honor

bestowed"upon only a chosen Jew.        "              "

Preachers, lay and" ordained, taught at several c nters of 'popula­

tion on the islands. Ch.ristiantown was the oldest, but not the sole organized Indian town. A sister community was Gay Head, with a history even longer in yea.rs'than Christian.town. A'lthough Gay Head

had no town government for ID"any years, it is of in'te est as the sole

surviving Indian t()wn on the islands. Its, church is one of the ancient

in North America. "

Mittark, the first preacher at this place, was  ucceeded by J pheth

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Hannit, of Chilmark, who was assisted by Abel Wauwompuhque and Elisha Ohhumuh. The two latter were preaching to 260 souls in 1698 and had a meetinghouse framed. This may have been the edifice which was standing on the Old South Road over a hundred years later. In it were heard the voices of the Mayhews, at least Experience preaching 1694-1758, and Zachariah, 1767-1806, and their successor, the Rev. Frederick Baylies, in years beginning 1810.

The Congregational Church at Gay Head founded by the May. hews is commonly remembered as "The Old Presbyterian Chuj'".ch" and as "The Church of the Standing Order"; the first having reference to its form of organization and the  second to the fact that the Congregational Church in Massachusetts was the State Church, supported by taxation. Churches not Congregational, were dissenting bodies , and not of the "standing order."            ,

The last preacher of "the ,Standing Order" was Zachary Howoswee, "still a name to conjure with, a dim figure looming out of the past-but looming mightily." He was the last to preach in the Indian tongue, although there were few left in his congregation that were capable of understanding the language of their fathers. He clung, however, to this last tie of the entity of his race. So fervidly could he preach in the unknown language that he could make his listeners, cry, although they knew not a word he spoke. He was a "large farmer" and prosperous, but declined into drink. He made a brave but vain'

struggle to maintain his people as a race; but with dwindling attendance and his own unfortunate struggle with intemperance, the light he

sought to keep burning, went out. He used to tell his congregation

"you must not do as I do, but as I say."

A Baptist schism at Gay Head appeared in the eighteenth century. Little effort was made to combat it as the Mayhew missionaries were willing that any Christian faith should be worshipped in preference to paganism. At one time the sole Baptist minister on the island was an. ordained Indian preacher.

In 1849 it was, said of the Gay Headers that they were "in the main, a frugal, industrious, temperate and moral people; but not with­out exception." Twelve years later it was said, "They are generally kind and considerate toward each other, and perform their social and relative duties as well as do other people in whose vicinity they reside."

In 1869, at a hearing held by the legislative committee, three clergy.

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men testified that covering a period of several years neither of them had seen a case of drunkenness nor heard profanity among them in that time. In 1862 the reservation was incorporated by the State Legisla­ture into the "District of Gay Head" and, in 1870, it was conferred the full status of a township.

Under the rotation plan of electing a representative for the island to the General Court of the State then in vogue, Mr. Edwin DeVries Vanderhoop, a native Gay Header, with a large admixture of Dutch blood in his veins, was elected to the session of 1888 to legislate for the white people who had lately enfranchised him.

Says the island historian, "The town is now in its fortieth year of existence [1910], a self-respecting community of people, obedient to the laws, managing its affairs economically, fulfilling all the require­ments of an incorporated part of the Commonwealth, and justifying fully the faith of the men who gave it this opportunity for independent development. But it is still an Indian town, for the white man has made no invasion here."

The long "apprenticeship in civilization" has been served. Lack­ing initiative by inheritance, the Indians seemed for a time like the children of Israel, lost in the wilderness, with no incentive to raise them from their sloth. The journey was long and tedious, but not without reward.

The type  of local government that Thomas Mayhew instituted among the island Indians was the most highly developed of its kind, and was singularly free of the casuistic notions of the day. The Apostle Eliot in founding Natick took occasion to put into force a theory of his that all civil government and all laws should be derived from Scripture alone. Said he of the Indians, "They shall be wholly governed by the Scriptures in all things, both in church and State; the Lord shall be their lawgiver, the Lord shall be their judge, the Lord shall be their king, and unto the frame the Lord will bring all the world ere he hath done." .

The virtue of this form of government Eliot loved to argue and promulgate. He refers frequently to the point in his correspondence claiming that the time would come when all other civil institutions in the world would be compelled to yield to those derived from the Bible.

Pursuant to the eighteenth chapter of Exodus the Indians of Natick divided their community into hundreds and tithings and appointed

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Rulers of hundreds, of fifties, and rulers of ten.  This was only a municipal government.  In general affairs they acknowledged their subjugation to the English magistrates of the colony, and appeals  were made from their courts to these authorities in all necessary cases.

Laws for the regulation of Indian affairs were passed in the several colonies.  In 1670 the selectman of the towns in Plymouth Colony were empowered by the  by the General Court to judge disputes arising between English and Indians, except in capital cases and matters pertaining to the title of lands.  Three years later Magistrates Thomas Hinckley was appointed to call and keep courts among the Indians, and was authorized to make orders respecting their government in conjunction with the Indian chiefs of the several locations.  Afterwards the Court of Assistants appointed an “able and discreet” man in each town to hear cases “betwixt Indian and Indian” in association with tithingmen appointed one for every ten Indians.  Constables among the Indians were appointed yearly.

At Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket a more complete form of government was provided, and greater liberty given the Indians in self-government than elsewhere.  In general the laws were those in vogue among the English.  The Indian was brought forward in the science of government and not turned back to the days of Moses.

Macy tells the story of a picturesque Indian judge whose administration was of a date later than Governor Mayhew, but of interest as a first hand picture of Indian justice.  “There was one Indian man,” recites Macy, “his name was James Skouel, but was mostly called Corduda.  He was justice of the peace, and very sharp with them if they did not behave well.  He would fetch them up, when they did not tend their corn well, and order them to have ten stripes on their backes, and for any rogue tricks and getting drunk.  And if his own children

 

       Thomas Hinckley, b. cir. r6r8 in England; d. in Barnstable, Mass., 25 April,"'I706.

He was the last governor of Plymouth Colony. His daughter Thankful,became the first

wife of "Rev. Experience Mayhew. After her death, Experience Mayhew remarried

Remember Bourne, daughter of Shearjashub Bourne, Esq. (who had civil oversight of

the Mashpee Indians), and granddaughter of Rev. Richard Bourne, missionary to the

Indians. The missionary families of Bourne, Tupper, and Mayhew are intermarried!!!

 

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Played any rogue tricks, he would serve them the same sauce.  There happened some Englishmen at his court, when a man was brought up for the same rogue tricks, and one of these men was named Nathan Coleman, a pretty crank sort of man, and the Indian pleaded for an appeal to Esquire Bunker, and the old judge turned around to said Nathan and spoke in the Indian language thus,

 

 

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CHAPTER XX

 

THE EIGHTH DECADE

Thomas Mayhew entered the last decade of his life in 1673. He was still active in missionary work, ready even to go to Plymouth to see the commissioners about missionary matters; letters being "little' to a man's presence.

The missionary had a remarkable physique and mentality. The state of his health in his declining years he recapitulates in a letter to his physician:

Sir I haue not yett made vse of the cordiall powder which you sent

me. I haue beene verry well synce, I blesse the Lord, beyond expecta­tion. That paine I had seized one me in the morning betyme, vppon the right syde; the paine was not so broade as the palme of my hand.  It was like to take me off the stage, but it went away in my sleepe that night. When I awoke, I was altogether free of that paine and of other sore paine which came vppon me in vseing menes by a glyster to free my sellfe of that. This God can doe. I am 7 I and 5 monthes at present. My sight is better then many yeares synce. I can write well without spectacles; I wash my head ordinaryly with, spring water, yf the weather be neuer soe colld, euery morning. Heate trobules me most, ells I would haue com by land vnto Hartford. Heate doth hurt me.  I wash my head vppon the waye sometimes, though I sweate much, I confesse I find much good in it. I was 6 years synce verry weake yett not syck, but a swymming in my heade, and a noise allso, which hath neare quite left me, and I am strong for my yeares, rarely a man so strong.

The last he mentioned with pride. It was true of his last and; eighty-ninth year, "rarely a man so strong."

No mention is made in the writings of Thomas Mayhew at this time of any solicitation for help in his missionary enterprises. He had long ago given up hope of interesting outside clergymen, either "solid"" men or otherwise. Yet assistance was forthcoming in the person of a grandson.

The son destined to follow in the footsteps of the Vineyard's "Christian Warrior" was John, the youngest of the three sons of the Rev. Thomas Mayhew, Jr. More than any of his kindred he is said to have resembled his gifted father, inheriting his scholarly inclinations

 

 

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and missionary spirit. He was not originally trained for the work, but as time went on and it became apparent that Matthew, who had been trained as a missionary, was interested in temporal affairs and the other brother in executive and judicial duties, the way wastleared for John, co-heir of the proprietary, to devote himself to the work of his choice.

John "was early inclined to the Ministerial Work," says an early account, "and having the Benefit of the Grandfather's wise Instruc­tions, and of his Father's Library; and being a Person of more than ordinary natural Parts, great Industry and sincere Piety, he made such a large Proficiency in the Study and Knowledge of divine Things, that about 1673, when he was twenty one Years of Age, he was first called to the Ministry among the English in a new and small Settle­merit, at a Place named Tisbury, near the middle of the Island; where he preached to great Acceptance, not only the People under his Care, but of very able Judges that occasionally heard him." His charge included the church societies of Chilmark and Tisbury united.

The newly ordained clergyman settled in Chilmark, where he built a house' on a neck of land called Quanaimes, an Indian word meaning "the long fish" or eel. The house is referred to in a deed wherein Governor Mayhew "of the town of Chilmark in the Manor of Tys­bery" conveys a parcel of land "opposite against the point of, a neck of Quanaimes, which John Mayhew's house standeth upon." In this house at Quanaimes, writes Charles E. Banks, "was born in the year 1673 the famous Experience, author of 'Indian Converts,’ and after the property had descended to him, as the 'first born son,' it disclosed the light of day in 1720 to his no less famous scion, the Rev. Jonathan Mayhew, the great pulpit orator. This spot, therefore, may well be regarded as the cradle of Chilmark's most distinguished sons."

One is not surprised that John Mayhew should have entertained an urge to enter the Indian service in which his grandfather rich in years was laboring. But we are informed that heredity and environ­ment alone did not sway the destinies of the youthful preacher. He was so beloved and respected among the Indians that they would not be content until he became a preacher to them as he was to the English. It is said of John that while a young man he was often resorted to by the chief Indians of the island for advice, and that he knew their lan­guage well. He was referred to by the commissioners in 1672 as a potential "useful instrument" to be encouraged in missionary work­

 

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“One wherof is the son of that Reverend and Good man Mr. Mahew deceased whoe being borne on the Island called Marthas Viniyard and now grown to mans estate and there settled; is a hopeful younge man and hath theire Language perfectly.”

     Sometime after his ordination John Mayhew regularly entered the missionary service as an assistant to his grandfather.  Among his many duties was that of preaching to the natives once every week.  He visited the several praying towns within the jurisdiction and mapped out programs of instruction for the guidance of the native teachers, taught, preached, and catechized the Indians and their childten; journeying by canoe or sloop in visitations to Nantucket and the several Elizabeth Islands.  In long and arduous journeyings over land and by water he was of immesurable service to the grandfather burdened by age and civil duties.

    A number of years after the entry of John into the work of his fathers, Thomas Mayhew reports to the commissioners that “the work of God amongst the Indians …… seems to me to prosper.”  The two churches at Martha’s Vineyard had forty members who “walked inofensyvely.”  The chief men of every place were now allied with the new religion and put forth their efforts to uphold the worship of God.  Sachems and powwows alike were converted.  “Witchcraft was out of vse.”

   The evil of the Indian was still drunkenness.  The missionary reports one hundred and forty men not so tainted.  It is severly punished in everyplace, reports he.  He hopes the Lord will give endeavors to the efforts being made to stamp out that great offense, “there are some that are already of the worst that hates it.”

   It is strange to see how readily offenders strip themselves to receive punishment for this sin “of wch or nation is much guilty.”  He complains that vessels passing through the sound, largely owned at Rhode Island, kept natives supplied with liquor.  This had been the complaint of Thomas Macy a number of years before.  Rhode Island was early a rum selling and slave catching state, where merchants waxed rich on blood and rum.

   At Nantucket things are "in a very comfortable way," and at the  Elizabeth Islands there are forty families and a teacher in the worship of God. "Thus matters stand heer at present. I conceiue no man can contradict it.”

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The career of Thomas Mayhew as a missionary and governor was drawing to a close.  In his letter one perceives signs of fatigue. The flow of language is not easy. He writes significantly, "It hath pleased

God to keepe me alyue and verfY" ell, to write thus much in my 8th yeare hallf out."* He closes with a plea for the prayers of the com­missioners, "that I may fynnish my dayes in a holy manner." Retire­ment before death was something he had no wish for.

Three years and a half later, in the eighty-ninth years of  his age and the thirty-fifth of his ministry to the Indians, Thomas Mayhew died. Shortly before his death he had an illness which was thought by his relatives to be his last, but he told them that the time was not come and that he should not die with that fit of sickness. Accordingly he recovered and preached again several times. Realizing, however, that the time of his departure was near, he so expressed. himself to a grandson, adding that he earnestly hoped that God would give him one opportunity more to preach in public to the English at Edgartown, where he had been for some time obliged to supply the pulpit through the want of a regular minister.         

His wish being gratified he appeared before his flock the following Sunday for the  last time, preached a final sermon and took an affectionate farewell of  his people. In the rude little meetinghouse at Edgartown. the broken crumbling patriarch of the island, clasped hands for the last time with the people he loved so well,  nearly all of them latecomers or children of. the first settlers. Thomas Mayhew  was among the last of the little band of pioneers that had founded Great Harbor two generations before. He had seen his people go to the grave, one  by one, and new faces with old names take their places.

Returning home from the somber scene in the church, that evening he fell ill.  He assured his friends and relatives that his sickness would now be, death, adding that he was well contented, being full of days and  satisfied. with life. "He gave many excellent Counsels and Exhortations­ to all about him; his Reason and Memory not being all impaired."  He continued, full of faith and comfort to the end.

His great-grandson, Experience, being then about eight years of age, accompanied his father to the governor's house, and well remem­bered the patriarch calling him to his beside and laying his hands on his head and blessing, him in the name of the Lord.              '

 

*Mayhew appears to have neen in error as to his age at this time, an error into which he occasionally fell, making himself older than he actually was.

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