CONNECTICUT PAUGAUSSETT INDIANS
CAPTAIN JOHN UNDERHILL
NEWS FROM AMERICA
[Capt. John Underhill, the author of this History of the Pequot War, was one of the first planters of Massachusetts, one of the three first deputies from Boston to the General Court, and one of the earliest officers of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company. Further particulars of his chequered life and eccentric character may be found in Eliot's Biographical Dictionary, and more abundantly in Gov. Winthrop's History of New England.
The following Tract being exceedingly rare, only one copy being known to exist on this side of the Atlantic, belonging to the Library of Harvard University, it was thought desirable to perpetuate it by multiplying copies of it in our Historical Collections. * * * * Publishing Committee, Mass. Hist. Soc.\
News from America, or a late and
experimental discovery of New England.
I Shall not spend time (for my other occasions will not permit) to write largely of every particular, but shall, as briefly as I may, perform these two things; first, give a true narration of the warlike proceedings that hath been in New England these two years last past; secondly, I shall discover to the reader divers places in New England, that would afford special accommodations to such persons as will plant upon them. I had not time to do either of these as they deserved; but wanting time to do it as the nature of the thing required, I shall, according to my ability, begin with a relation of our warlike proceedings, and will interweave the special places fit for new plantations, with their description, as I shall find occasion, in the following discourse. But I shall, according to my promise, begin with a true relation of the New England wars against the Block Islanders, and that insolent and barbarous nation, called the Pequeats, whom, by the sword of the Lord, and a few feeble instruments, soldiers not accustomed to war, were drove out of their country, and slain by the sword, to the number of fifteen hundred souls, in the space of two months and less; so as their country is fully subdued and fallen into the hands of the English. And to the end that God's name might have the glory, and his people see his power, and magnify his honor for his great goodness, I have endeavored, according to my weak ability, to set forth the full relation of the war, from the first rise to the end of the victory.
The cause of our war against the Block Islanders, was for taking away the life of one Master John Oldham, who made it his common course to trade amongst the Indians. He coming to Block Island to drive trade with them, the islanders came into his boat, and having got a full view of commodities which gave them good content, consulted how they might destroy him and his company, to the end they might clothe their bloody flesh with his lawful garments. The Indians having laid the plot, into the boat they came to trade, as they pretended; watching their opportunities, knocked him in the head, and martyred him most barbarously, to the great grief of his poor distressed servants, which by the providence of God were saved. This island lying in the road way to Lord Sey and the Lord Brooke's plantation, a certain seaman called to John Gallop, master of the small navigation standing along to the Mathethusis Bay, and seeing a boat under sail close aboard the island, and perceiving the sails to be unskilfully managed, bred in him a jealousy, whether that the island Indians had not bloodily taken the life of our countrymen, and made themselves master of their goods. Suspecting this, he bore up to them, and approaching near them was confirmed that his jealousy was just. Seeing Indians in the boat, and knowing her to be the vessel of Master Oldham, and not seeing him there, gave fire upon them and slew some; others leaped overboard, besides two of the number which he preserved alive and brought to the Bay. The blood of the innocent called for vengeance. God stirred up the heart of the honored Governor, Master Henry Vane, and the rest of the worthy Magistrates, to send forth a hundred well appointed soldiers, under the conduct of Captain John Hendicot, and in company with him that had command, Captain John Underbill, Captain Nathan Turner, Captain William Jenningson, besides other inferior officers. I would not have the world wonder at the great number of commanders to so few men, but know that the Indians' fight far differs from the Christian practice; for they most commonly divide themselves into small bodies, so that we are forced to neglect our usual way, and to subdivide our divisions to answer theirs, and not thinking it any disparagement to any captain to go forth against an enemy with a squadron of men, taking the ground from the old and ancient practice, when they chose captains of hundreds and captains of thousands, captains of fifties and captains of tens. We conceive a captain signifieth the chief in way of command of any body committed to his charge for the time being, whether of more or less, it makes no matter in power, though in honor it does. Coming to an anchor before the island, we espied an Indian walking by the shore in a desolate manner, as though he had received intelligence of our coming. Which Indian gave just ground to some to conclude that the body of the people had deserted the island. But some knowing them for the generality to be a
warlike nation, a people that spend most of their time in the study of warlike policy, were not persuaded that they would upon so slender terms forsake the island, but rather suspected they might lie behind a bank, much like the form of a barricado. Myself with others rode with a shallop, made towards the shore, having in the boat a dozen armed soldiers. Drawing near to the place of landing, the number that rose from behind the barricado were between fifty or sixty able fighting men, men as straight as arrows, very tall, and of active bodies, having their arrows notched. They drew near to the water side, and let fly at the soldiers, as though they had meant to have made an end of us all in a moment. They shot a young gentleman in the neck through a collar, for stiffness as if it had been an oaken board, and entered his flesh a good depth. Myself received an arrow through my coat sleeve, a second against my helmet on the forehead; so as if God in his providence had not moved the heart of my wife to persuade me to carry it along with me, (which I was unwilling to do), I had been slain. Give me leave to observe two things from hence; first, when the hour of death is not yet come, you see God useth weak means to keep his purpose unviolated; secondly, let no man despise advice and counsel of his wife, though she be a woman. It were strange to nature to think a man should be bound to fulfil the humor of a woman, what arms he should carry; but you see God will have it so, that a woman should overcome a man. What with Delilah's flattery, and with her mournful tears, they must and will have their desire, when the hand of God goes along in the matter; and this is to accomplish his own will. Therefore let the clamor be quenched I daily hear in my ears, that New England men usurp over their wives, and keep them in servile subjection. The country is wronged in this matter, as in many things else. Let this precedent satisfy the doubtful, for that comes from the example of a rude soldier. If they be so courteous to their wives, as to take their advice in warlike matters, how much more kind is the tender, affectionate husband to honor his wife as the weaker vessel? Yet mistake not. I say not that they are bound to call their wives in council, though they are bound to take their private advice (so far as they see it make for their advantage and their good); instance Abraham. But to the matter. The arrows flying thick about us, we made haste to the shore; but the surf of the sea being great, hindered us, so as we could scarce discharge a musket, but were forced to make haste to land. Drawing near the shore through the strength of wind, and the hollowness of the sea, we durst not adventure to run ashore, but were forced to wade up to the middle; but once having got up off our legs, we gave fire upon them. They finding our bullets to outreach their arrows, they fled before us. In the meanwhile Colonel Hindecot made to the shore, and some of this number also repulsed him at his landing, but hurt none. We thought they would stand it out with us, but they perceiving we were in earnest, fled; and left their wigwams, or houses, and provision to the use of our soldiers. Having set forth our sentinels, and laid out our pardues, we betook ourselves to the guard, expecting hourly they would fall upon us; but they observed the old rule, 'Tis good sleeping in a whole skin, and left us free from an alarm.
The next day we set upon our march, the Indians being retired into swamps, so as we could not find them. We burnt and spoiled both houses and corn in great abundance; but they kept themselves in obscurity. Captain Turner stepping aside to a swamp, met with some few Indians, and charged upon them, changing some few bullets for arrows. Himself received a shot upon the breast of his corselet, as if it had been pushed with a pike, and if he had not had it on, he had lost his life.
A pretty passage worthy observation. We had an Indian with us that was an interpreter; being in English clothes, and a gun in his hand, was spied by the islanders, which called out to him, What are you, an Indian or an Englishman? Come hither, saith he, and I will tell you. He pulls up his cock and let fly at one of them, and without question was the death of him. Having spent that day in burning and spoiling the island, we took up the quarter for that night. About midnight myself went out with ten men about two miles from our quarter, and discovered the most eminent plantation they had in the island, where was much corn, many wigwams, and great heaps of mats; but fearing less we should make an alarm by setting fire on them, we left them as we found them, and peaceably departed to our quarter; and the next morning with forty men marched up to the same plantation, burnt their houses, cut down their corn, destroyed some of their dogs instead of men, which they left in their wigwams.
Passing on toward the water side to embark our soldiers, we met with several famous wigwams, with great heaps of pleasant corn ready shelled; but not able to bring it away, we did throw their mats upon it, and set fire and burnt it. Many well-wrought mats our soldiers brought from thence, and several delightful baskets. We being divided into two parts, the rest of the body met with no less, I suppose, than ourselves did. The Indians playing least in sight, we spent our time, and could no more advantage ourselves than we had already done, and having slain some fourteen, and maimed others, we embarked ourselves, and set sail for Seasbrooke fort, where we lay through distress of weather four days; then we departed.
The Pequeats having slain one Captain Norton, and Captain Stone, with seven more of their company, order was given us to visit them, sailing along the Nahanticot shore with five vessels. The Indians spying of us came running in multitudes along the water side, crying, What cheer, Englishmen, what cheer, what do you come for? They not thinking we intended war, went on cheerfully until they come to Pequeat river. We thinking it the best way, did forbear to answer them; first, that we might the better be able to run through the work; secondly, that by delaying of them, we might drive them in security, to the end we might have the more advantage of them. But they seeing we would make no answer, kept on their course, and cried, What, Englishmen, what cheer, what cheer, are you hoggery, will you cram us? That is, are you angry, will you kill us, and do you come to fight? That night the Nahanticot Indians, and the Pequeats, made fire on both sides of the river, fearing we would land in the night. They made most doleful and woful cries all the night, (so that we could scarce rest) hallooing one to another, and giving the word from place to place, to gather their forces together, fearing the English were come to war against them.
The next morning they sent early aboard an ambassador, a grave senior, a man of good understanding, portly carriage, grave and majestical in his expressions. He demanded of us what the end of our coming was. To which we answered, that the governors of the Bay sent us to demand the heads of those persons that had slain Captain Norton and Captain Stone, and the rest of their company, and that it was not the custom of the English to suffer murderers to live; and therefore, if they desired their own peace and welfare, they will peaceably answer our expectation, and give us the heads of the murderers.
They being a witty and ingenious nation, their ambassador labored to excuse the matter, and answered, We know not that any of ours have slain any English. True it is, saith he, we have slain such a number of men; but consider the ground of it. Not long before the coming of these English into the river, there was a certain vessel that came to us in way of trade. We used them well, and traded with them, and took them to be such as would not wrong us in the least matter. But our sachem or prince coming aboard, they laid a plot how they might destroy him; which plot discovereth itself by the event, as followeth. They keeping their boat aboard, and not desirous of our company, gave us leave to stand hallooing ashore, that they
might work their mischievous plot. But as we stood they called to us, and demanded of us a bushel of wampam-peke, which is their money. This they demanded for his ransom. This peal did ring terribly in our ears, to demand so much for the life of our prince, whom we thought was in the hands of honest men, and we had never wronged them. But we saw there was no remedy; their expectation must be granted, or else they would not send him ashore, which they promised they would do, if we would answer their desires. We sent them so much aboard, according to demand, and they, according to their promise, sent him ashore,* but first slew him. This much exasperated our spirits, and made us vow a revenge. Suddenly after came these captains with a vessel into the river, and pretended to trade with us, as the former did. We did not discountenance them for the present, but took our opportunity and came aboard. The sachem's son succeeding his father, was the man that came into the cabin of Captain Stone, and Captain Stone having drunk more than did him good, fell backwards on the bed asleep. The sagamore took his opportunity, and having a little hatchet under his garment, therewith knocked him in the head. Some being upon the deck and others under, suspected some such thing; for the rest of the Indians that were aboard had order to proceed against the rest at one time; but the English spying treachery, run immediately into the cook-room, and, with a fire-brand, had thought to have blown up the Indians by setting fire to the powder. These devil's instruments spying this plot of the English,
* This was noways true of the English, but a devised excuse.
leaped overboard as the powder was a firing, and saved themselves; but all the English were blown up. This was the manner of their bloody action. Saith the ambassador to us, Could ye blame us for revenging so cruel a murder? for we distinguish not between the Dutch and English, but took them to be one nation, and therefore we do not conceive that we wronged you, for they slew our king; and thinking these captains to be of the same nation and people as those that slew him, made us set upon this course of revenge.
Our answer was, They were able to distinguish between Dutch and English, having had sufficient experience of both nations; and therefore, seeing you have slain the king of England's subjects, we come to demand an account of their blood, for we ourselves are liable to account for them. The answer of the ambassador was, We know no difference between the Dutch and the English; they are both strangers to us, we took them to be all one; therefore we crave pardon; we have not wilfully wronged the English. This excuse will not serve our turns, for we have sufficient testimony that you know the English from the Dutch. We must have the heads of those persons that have slain ours, or else we will fight with you. He answered, Understanding the ground of your coming, I will entreat you to give me liberty to go ashore, and I shall inform the body of the people what your intent and resolution is; and if you will stay aboard, I will bring you a sudden answer.
We did grant him liberty to get ashore, and ourselves followed suddenly after before the war was proclaimed. He seeing us land our forces, came with a message to entreat us to come no nearer, but stand in a valley, which had between us and them an ascent, that took our sight from them; but they might see us to hurt us, to our prejudice. Thus from the first beginning to the end of the action, they carried themselves very subtilely; but we, not willing to be at their direction, marched up to the ascent, having set our men in battalia. He came and told us he had inquired for the sachem, that we might come to a parley; but neither of both of the princes were at home; they were gone to Long Island.
Our reply was, We must not be put off thus, we know the sachem is in the plantation, and therefore bring him to us, that we may speak with him, or else we will beat up the drum, and march through the country, and spoil your corn. His answer, If you will but stay a little while, I will step to the plantation and seek for them. We gave them leave to take their own course, and used as much patience as ever men might, considering the gross abuse they offered us, holding us above an hour in vain hopes. They sent an Indian to tell us that Mommenoteck was found, and would appear before us suddenly. This brought us to a new stand the space of an hour more. There came a third Indian persuading us to have a little further patience, and he would not tarry, for he had assembled the body of the Pequeats together, to know who the parties were that had slain these Englishmen. But seeing that they did in this interim convey away their wives and children, and bury their chiefest goods, we perceived at length they would fly from us; but we were patient and bore with them, in expectation to have the greater blow upon them. The last messenger brought us this intelligence from the sachem, that if we would but lay down our arms, and approach about thirty paces from them, and meet the heathen prince, he would cause his men to do the like, and then we shall come to a parley.
But we seeing their drift was to get our arms, we rather chose to beat up the drum and bid them battle. Marching into a champaign field we displayed our colors ; but none would come near us, but standing remotely off did laugh at us for our patience. We suddenly set upon our march, and gave fire to as many as we could come near, firing their wigwams, spoiling their corn, and many other necessaries that they had buried in the ground we raked up, which the soldiers had for booty. Thus we spent the day burning and spoiling the country. Towards night embarked ourselves. The next morning, landing on the Nahanticot shore, where we were served in like nature, no Indians would come near us, but run from us, as the deer from the dogs. But having burnt and spoiled what we could light on, we embarked our men, and set sail for the Bay. Having ended this exploit, came off, having one man wounded in the leg; but certain numbers of their slain, and many wounded. This was the substance of the first year's service. Now followeth the service performed in the second year.
This insolent nation, seeing we had used much lenity towards them, and themselves not able to make good use of our patience, set upon a course of greater insolence than before, and slew all they found in their way. They came near Seabrooke fort, and made many proud challenges, and dared them out to fight.
The lieutenant went out with ten armed men, and starting three Indians they changed some few shot for arrows. Pursuing them, a hundred more started out of the ambushments, and almost surrounded him and his company; and some they slew, others they maimed, and forced them to retreat to their fort, so that it was a special providence of God that they were not all slain. Some of their arms they got from them, others put on the English clothes, and came to the fort jeering of them, and calling, Come and fetch your Englishmen's clothes again; come out and fight, if you dare; you dare not fight; you are all one like women. We have one amongst us that if he could kill but one of you more, he would be equal with God, and as the Englishman's God is, so would he be. This blasphemous speech troubled the hearts of the soldiers, but they knew not how to remedy it, in respect of their weakness.
The Conetticot plantation, understanding the insolence of the enemy to be so great, sent down a certain number of soldiers, under the conduct of Captain John Mason, for to strengthen the fort. The enemy lying hovering about the fort, continually took notice of the supplies that were come, and forebore drawing near it as before; and letters were immediately sent to the Bay, to that right worshipful gentleman, Master Henry Vane, for a speedy supply to strengthen the fort. For assuredly without supply suddenly came, in reason all would be lost, and fall into the hands of the enemy. This was the trouble and perplexity that lay
upon the spirits of the poor garrison. Upon serious consideration, the governor and council sent forth myself, with twenty armed soldiers, to supply the necessity of those distressed persons, and to take the government of that place for the space of three months. Belief being come, Captain John Mason, with the rest of his company, returned to the plantation again. We sometimes fell out, with a matter of twenty soldiers, to see whether we could discover the enemy or no. They seeing us (lying in ambush) gave us leave to pass by them, considering we were too hot for them to meddle with us. Our men being completely armed, with corselets, muskets, bandoleers, rests, and swords, (as they themselves related afterward), did much daunt them. Thus we spent a matter of six weeks before we could have anything to do with them, persuading ourselves that all things had been well. But they seeing there was no advantage more to be had against the fort, they enterprised a new action, and fell upon Watertowne, now called Wethersfield, with two hundred Indians. Before they came to attempt the place, they put into a certain river, an obscure small river miming into the main, where they encamped, and refreshed themselves, and fitted themselves for their service, and by break of day attempted their enterprise, and slew nine men, women and children. Having finished their action, they suddenly returned again, bringing with them two maids captives, having put poles in their canoes, as we put masts in our boats, and upon them hung our English men's and women's shirts and smocks, instead of sails, and in way of bravado came along in sight of us as we stood upon Seybrooke fort. And seeing them pass along in such a triumphant manner, we much fearing they had enterprised some desperate action upon the English, we gave fire with a piece of ordnance, and shot among their canoes. And though they were a mile from us, yet the bullet grazed not above twenty yards over the canoe, where the poor maids were. It was a special providence of God it did not hit them, for then should we have been deprived of the sweet observation of God's providence in their deliverance. We were not able to make out after them, being destitute of means, boats, and the like. Before we proceed any farther to a full relation of the insolent proceeding of this barbarous nation, give me leave to touch upon the several accommodations that belong to this Seybrooke fort.
This fort lies upon a river called Conetticot, at the mouth of it, a place of a very good soil, good meadow, divers sorts of good wood, timber, variety of fish of several kinds, fowl in abundance, geese, ducks, brankes, teals, deer, roebuck, squirrels, which are as good as our English rabbits. Pity it is so famous a place should be so little regarded. It lies to the northwest of that famous place called Queenapiok, which rather exceeds the former in goodness. It hath a fair river, fit for harboring of ships, and abounds with rich and goodly meadows. This lies thirty miles from the upper plantations, which are planted on the river Conetticot. Twelve miles above this plantation is situated a place called Aguawam, no way inferior to the forenamed places. This country and those parts do generally yield a fertile soil, and good meadow all the rivers along. The river Conetticot is navigable for pinnaces sixty miles; it hath a strong fresh stream that descends out of the hills. The tide flows not about half way up the river. The strength of the freshet that comes down the river is so strong, that it stoppeth the force of the tide.
The truth is, I want time to set forth the excellence of the whole country; but if you would know the garden of New England, then must you glance your eye upon Hudson's river, a place exceeding all yet named. The river affords fish in abundance, as sturgeon, salmon, and many delicate varieties of fish that naturally lies in the river; the only place for beaver that we have in those parts. Long Island is a place worth the naming, and generally affords most of the aforesaid accommodations. Nahanticot, Martin's Vineyard, Pequeat, Narragansett Bay, Elizabeth Islands, all these places are yet uninhabited, and generally afford good accommodation; as a good soil, according as we have expressed, they are a little inferior to the former places. The Narraganset Bay is a place for shipping, so spacious, as it will contain ten thousand sail of ships. Capcod, NewPlimouth, Dukesbury, and all those parts, well accommodated for the receiving of people, and yet few are there planted, considering the spaciousness of the place. The Bay itself, although report goes it is full, and can hardly entertain any more, yet there are but few towns but are able to receive more than they have already, and to accommodate them in a comfortable measure.
The northern plantations, and eastern, as Puscataway, would not be neglected; they are desirable places, and lie in the heart of fishing. Puscataway is a river navigable for a ship of a hundred tons some six leagues up. With boats and pinnaces you may go a great way further. It is the only key of the country for safety. With twelve pieces of ordnance, will keep out all the enemies in the world. The mouth of the river is narrow, lies full upon the southeast sea; so as there is no anchoring without, except you hazard ship and men. It is accommodated with a good soil, abundance of good timber; meadows are not wanting to the place. Pity it is it hath been so long neglected.
Augumeaticus is a place of good accommodation; it lies five miles from Puscataway river, where Sir Ferdinando Gorge hath a house. It is a place worthy to be inhabited, a soil that bears good corn, all sorts of grain, flax, hemp, the country generally will afford. There was grown in Puscataway the last year, and in the Bay, as good English grain as can grow in any part of the world. Casko hath a famous bay, accommodated with a hundred islands, and is fit for plantation, and hath a river belonging to it, which doth afford fish in abundance, fowl also in great measure. So full of fowl it is, that strangers may be supplied with variety of fowl in an hour or two after their arrival, which knew not how to be relieved before. Because the place in general is so famous, and well known to all the world, and chiefly to our English nation (the most noblest of this Commonwealth), I therefore forbear many particulars which yet might be expressed. And in regard of many aspersions hath been cast upon all the country, that it is a hard and difficult place for to subsist in, and that the soil is barren, and bears little that is good, and that it can hardly receive more people than those that are there, I will presume to make a second digression from the former matter, to the end I might encourage such as desire to plant there.
There are certain plantations, Dedham, Concord, in the Mathethusis Bay, that are newly erected, that do afford large accommodation, and will contain abundance of people. But I cease to spend time in matters of this nature, since my discourse tends to warlike story. But I crave pardon for my digression.
I told you before, that when the Pequeats heard and saw Seabrooke fort was supplied, they forbore to visit us. But the old serpent, according to his first malice, stirred them up against the church of Christ, and in such a furious manner, as our people were so far disturbed and affrighted with their boldness that they scarce durst rest in their beds; threatening persons and cattle to take them, as indeed they did. So insolent were these wicked imps grown, that like the devil, their commander, they run up and down as roaring lions, compassing all corners of the country for a prey, seeking whom they might devour. It being death to them for to rest without some wicked employment or other, they still plotted how they might wickedly attempt some bloody enterprise upon our poor native countrymen.
One Master Tilly, master of a vessel, being brought to an anchor in Conetticot river, went ashore, not suspecting the bloody-mindedness of those persons, who fell upon him and a man with him, whom they wickedly and barbarously slew; and, by relation, brought him home, tied him to a stake, flayed his skin off, put
hot embers between the flesh and the skin, cut off his fingers and toes, and made hatbands of them; thus barbarous was their cruelty! Would not this have moved the hearts of men to hazard blood, and life, and all they had, to overcome such a wicked, insolent nation? But letters coming into the Bay, that this attempt was made upon Wethersfield in Conetticot river, and that they had slain nine men, women and children, and taken two maids captives, the council gave order to send supply. In the mean while the Conetticot plantations sent down one hundred armed soldiers, under the conduct of Captain John Mason, and Lieutenant Seily, with other inferior officers, who by commission were bound for to come to rendezvous at Seabrooke fort, and there to consult with those that had command there, to enterprise some stratagem upon these bloody Indians. The Conetticot company having with them threescore Mohiggeners, whom the Pequeats had drove out of their lawful possessions, these Indians were earnest to join with the English, or at least to be under their conduct, that they might revenge themselves of those bloody enemies of theirs. The English, perceiving their earnest desire that way, gave them liberty to follow the company, but not to join in confederation with them; the Indians promising to be faithful, and to do them what service lay in their power. But having embarked their men, and coming down the river, there arose great jealousy in the hearts of those that had chief oversight of the company, fearing that the Indians in time of greatest trial might revolt, and turn their backs against those they professed to be their friends, and join with the Pequeats. This perplexed the hearts of many very much, because they had had no experience of their fidelity. But Captain Mason having sent down a shallop to Seybrooke fort, and sent the Indians over land to meet and rendezvous at Seabrooke fort, themselves came down in a great massy vessel, which was slow in coming, and very long detained by cross winds. The Indians coming to Seabrooke, were desirous to fall out on the Lord's day, to see whether they could find any Pequeats near the fort; persuading themselves that the place was not destitute of some of their enemies. But it being the Lord's day, order was given to the contrary, and wished them to forbear until the next day. Giving them liberty, they fell out early in the morning, and brought home five Pequeats' heads, one prisoner, and mortally wounded the seventh. This mightily encouraged the hearts of all, and we took this as a pledge of their further fidelity. Myself taking boat, rowed up to meet the rest of the forces. Lying aboard the vessel with my boat, the minister, one Master Stone, that was sent to instruct the company, was then in prayer solemnly before God, in the midst of the soldiers; and this passage worthy observation I set down, because the providence of God might be taken notice of, and his name glorified, that is so ready for to honor his own ordinance. The hearts of all in general being much perplexed, fearing the infidelity of these Indians, having not heard what an exploit they had wrought, it pleased God to put into the heart of Master Stone this passage in prayer, while myself lay under the vessel and heard it, himself not knowing that God had sent him a messenger to tell him his prayer was granted. O Lord God, if it be thy blessed will, vouchsafe so much favor to thy poor distressed servants, as to manifest one pledge of thy love, that may confirm us of the fidelity of these Indians towards us, that now pretend friendship and service to us, that our hearts may be encouraged the more in this work of thine. Immediately myself stepping up, told him that God had answered his desire, and that I had brought him this news, that those Indians had brought in five Pequeats' heads, one prisoner, and wounded one mortally; which did much encourage the hearts of all, and replenished them exceedingly, and gave them all occasion to rejoice and be thankful to God. A little before we set forth, came a certain ship from the Dutch plantation. Casting an anchor under the command of our ordnance, we desired the master to come ashore. The master and merchant, willing to answer our expectation, came forth, and sitting with us awhile unexpectedly revealed their intent, that they were bound for Pequeat river to trade. Ourselves knowing the custom of war, that it was not the practice, in a case of this nature, to suffer others to go and trade with them our enemies, with such commodities as might be prejudicial unto us, and advantageous to them, as kettles, or the like, which make them arrow-heads, we gave command to them not to stir, alleging that our forces were intended daily to fall upon them. This being unkindly taken, it bred some agitations between their several commanders; but God was pleased, out of his love, to carry things in such a sweet, moderate way, as all turned to his glory, and his people's good.
These men, seeing they could not have liberty to go upon their design, gave us a note under their hands, that if we would give them liberty to depart, they would endeavor, to the utmost of their ability, to release those two captive maids, and this should be the chief scope and drift of their design. Having these promises, depending upon their faithfulness, we gave them liberty. They set sail and went to Pequeat river, and sent to shore the master of the vessel to Sasacoose, their prince, for to crave liberty to trade; and what would they trade for but the English maids? which he much disliked. Suddenly withdrawing himself he returned back to the vessel, and by way of policy allured seven Indians into the bark, some of them being their prime men. Having them aboard, acquainted them with their intent, and told them without they might have the two captives delivered safely aboard, they must keep them as prisoners and pledges, and therefore must resolve not to go ashore, until such time they had treated with the sagamore. One of the Dutch called to them on the shore, and told them they must bring the two captive maids, if they would have the seven Indians; and therefore, briefly, if you will bring them, tell us; if not, we set sail, and will turn all your Indians overboard in the main ocean, so soon as ever we come out. They taking this to be a jest, slighted what was said unto them. They weighing anchor set sail, and drew near the mouth of the river. The Pequeats then discerned they were in earnest, and earnestly desired them to return and come to an anchor, and they would answer their expectation. So they brought the two maids, and delivered them safely aboard, and they returned to them the seven Indians. Then they set sail and came to Seabrooke fort. Bringing them to Seabrooke fort, request was made to have them ashore. But in regard of the Dutch governor's desire, who had heard that there was two English maids taken captives of the Pequeats, and thinking his own vessel to be there a trading with them, he had managed out a pinnace purposely, to give strict order and command to the former vessel to get these captives, what charge soever they were at, nay, though they did hazard their peace with them, and to gratify him with the first sight of them after their deliverance. So they earnestly entreated us that they might not be brought ashore so as to stay there, or to be sent home until they had followed the governor's order; which willingly was granted to them, though it were thirty leagues from us; yet were they safely returned again, and brought home to their friends. Now for the examination of the two maids after they arrived at Seabrooke fort. The eldest of them was about sixteen years of age. Demanding of her how they had used her, she told us that they did solicit her to uncleanness; but her heart being much broken, and afflicted under that bondage she was cast in, had brought to her consideration these thoughts How shall I commit this great evil and sin against my God? Their hearts were much taken up with the consideration of God's just displeasure to them, that had lived under so prudent means of grace as they did, and had been so ungrateful toward God, and slighted that means, so that God's hand was justly upon them for their remissness in all their ways. Thus was their hearts taken upwith these thoughts. The Indians carried them from place to place, and showed them their forts and curious wigwams and houses, and encouraged them to be merry. But the poor souls, as Israel, could not frame themselves to any delight or mirth under so strange a king. They hanging their harps upon the willow trees, gave their minds to sorrow; hope was their chief est food, and tears their constant drink. Behind the rocks, and under the trees, the eldest spent her breath in supplication to her God; and though the eldest was but young, yet must I confess the sweet affection to God for his great kindness and fatherly love she daily received from the Lord, which sweetened all her sorrows, and gave her constant hope that God would not nor could not forget her poor distressed soul and body; because, saith she, his loving kindness appeareth to me in an unspeakable manner. And though sometimes, saith she, I cried out, David-like, I shall one day perish by the hands of Saul, I shall one day die by the hands of these barbarous Indians; and specially if our people should come forth to war against them. Then is there no hope of deliverance. Then must I perish. Then will they cut me off in malice. But suddenly the poor soul was ready to quarrel with itself. Why should I distrust God? Do not I daily see the love of God unspeakably to my poor distressed soul? And he hath said he will never leave me nor forsake me. Therefore I will not fear what man can do unto me, knowing God to be above man, and man can do nothing without God's permission. These were the words that fell from her mouth when she was examined in Seabrooke fort. I having command of Seabrooke fort, she spake these things upon examination, in my hearing.
Christian reader, give me leave to appeal to the hearts of all true affectioned Christians, whether this be not the usual course of God's dealing to his poor captivated children, the prisoners of hope, to distil a great measure of sweet comfort and consolation into their souls in the time of trouble, so that the soul is more affected with the sense of God's fatherly love, than with the grief of its captivity. Sure I am, that sanctified afflictions, crosses, or any outward troubles appear so profitable, that God's dear saints are forced to cry out, Thy loving kindness is better than life, than all the lively pleasures and profits of the world. Better a prison sometimes and a Christ, than liberty without him. Better in a fiery furnace with the presence of Christ, than in a kingly palace without him. Better in the lion's den, in the midst of all the roaring lions and with Christ, than in a downy bed with wife and children without Christ. The speech of David is memorable, that sweet affectionate prince and soldier, '' How sweet is thy word to my taste; yea, sweeter than the honey and the honey-comb." He spake it by experience. He had the sweet relish of God's comforting presence, and the daily communion he had with the Lord, in the midst of all his distresses, trials, and temptations that fell upon him. And so the Lord deals to this day. The greater the captivities be of his servants, the contentions amongst his churches, the clearer God's presence is amongst his, to pick and cull them out of the fire, and to manifest himself to their souls, and bear them up, as Peter above the water, that they sink not.
But now, my dear and respected friends and fellow soldiers in the Lord, are not you apt to say, If this be the fruit of afflictions, I would I had some of those, that I might enjoy these sweet breathings of Christ in my soul, as those that are in afflictions. But beware of those thoughts, or else experience will teach all to recall or to unwish those thoughts, for it is against the course of Scripture to wish for evil, that good might come of it. We cannot expect the presence of Christ in that which is contrary to him, (a man laying himself open to trouble), but we are rather to follow Christ's example, "Father, not my will, but thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven." And when thou art brought thus prostrate before the Lord like an obedient child, ready to suffer what he will impose on thee; then if he think good to try us, we may exclude no trial, no captivity, though burdensome or tedious to nature, for they will appear sweet and sanctified in the issue, if they be of the Lord's laying on; specially when the Lord is pleased to impose trouble on his in way of trial (as he said to Israel of old I did it to prove you, and to see what was in your hearts), whether a soul would not do as the foolish young man in the Gospel, cling more closer to his honor, or profit, or ease, or peace, or liberty, than to the Lord Jesus Christ. And therefore the Lord is pleased to exercise his people with trouble and afflictions, that he might appear to them in mercy, and reveal more clearly his free grace unto their souls. Therefore consider, dear brethren, and err not, neither to the right hand nor to the left, and be not as Ephraim, like an untamed heifer, that would not stoop unto the yoke. But stoop to God's afflictions, if he please to impose them, and fear them not when they are from God. And know that Christ cannot be had without a cross. They are inseparable. You cannot have Christ in his ordinances, but you must have his cross. Did ever any Christian read, that in the purest churches that ever were, that Christians were freed from the cross? Was not the cross carried after Christ? And Andrew must follow Christ, but not without a cross. He must take it, and bear it, and that upon his shoulders; implying, it was not a light cross, but weighty. Oh, let not Christians show themselves to be so forgetful, as I fear many are, of the old way of Christ. Ease is come into the world, and men would have Christ and ease. But it will not be in this world. Is the servant better than the master? No, he is not, neither shall he be. But you may demand what is meant by this cross. We meet with many crosses in the world, losses at home and abroad, in church and commonwealth. What cross doth Christ mean? Was it a cross to be destitute of a house to put his head in? Or was it his cross, that he was not so deliciously fed as other men? Or to be so mean, wanting honor as others had? Or was it that his habit was not answerable to the course of the world, or to be destitute of silver and gold, as it is the lot of many of God's saints to this day? This was not the cross of Christ. You shall not hear him complain of his estate, that it is too mean, or his lodging too bad, or his garments too plain; these were not the troubles of Christ; these are companions to the cross.
But the chief cross that Christ had, was that the word of his Father could not take place in the hearts of those to whom it was sent, and suffering for the truth of his Father, that was Christ's cross. And that is the cross, too, that Christians must expect, and that in the purest churches. And, therefore, why do you stand and admire at New England, that there should be contentions there, and differences there, and that for the truth of Christ? Do you not remember that the cross followed the church? Hath it not been already said that Christ's cross followed him, and Andrew must carry it? And that Paul and Barnabas will contend together for the truth's sake? And doth not the Apostle say, Contend for the truth (though not in a violent way) ? Doth not Christ say, I came not to bring peace, but a sword? And why should men wonder at us, seeing that troubles and contentions have followed the purest churches since the beginning of the world to this day? Wherefore should we not look back to the Scriptures, and deny our own reason, and let that be our guide and platform? And then shall we not so much admire, when we know it is the portion of God's church to have troubles and contentions. And when we know also it is God that brings them, and that for good to his church. Hath not God ever brought light out of darkness, good out of evil? Did not the breath of God's spirit sweetly breathe in the souls of these poor captives which we now related? And do we not ever find, the greater the afflictions and troubles of God's people be, the more eminent is his grace in the souls of his servants? You that intend to go to New England, fear not a little trouble.
More men would go to sea, if they were sure to meet with no storms. But he is the most courageous soldier, that sees the battle pitched, the drums beat an alarm, and trumpets sound a charge, and yet is not afraid to join in the battle. Show not yourselves cowards, but proceed on in your intentions, and abuse not the lenity of our noble prince, and the sweet liberty he hath from time to time given to pass and repass according to our desired wills. Wherefore do ye stop? Are you afraid? May not the Lord do this to prove your hearts, to see whether you durst follow him in afflictions or not? What is become of faith? I will not fear that man can do unto me, saith David, no, nor what troubles can do, but will trust in the Lord, who is my God.
Let the ends and aims of a man be good, and he may proceed with courage. The bush may be in the fire, but so long as God appears to Moses out of the bush, there is no great danger. More good than hurt will come out of it. Christ knows how to honor himself, and to do his people good, though it be by contrary means, which reason will not fathom. Look but to faith, and that will make us see plainly, that though afflictions for the present are grievous, as doubtless it was with these two captive maids, yet sweet and comfortable is the issue with all God's saints, as it was with them. But to go on.
Having embarked our soldiers, we weighed anchor at Seabrooke fort, and set sail for the Narraganset Bay, deluding the Pequeats thereby, for they expected us to fall into the Pequeat river; but crossing their expectation, bred in them a security. We landed our men in the Narraganset Bay, and marched over land above two days' journey before we came to Pequeat. Quartering the last night's march within two miles of the place, we set forth about one of the clock in the morning, having sufficient intelligence that they knew nothing of our coming. Drawing near to the fort, yielded up ourselves to God, and entreated his assistance in so weighty an enterprise. We set on our march to surround the fort; * Captain John Mason, approaching to the west end, where it had an entrance to pass into it; myself marching to the south side, surrounding the fort; placing the Indians, for we had about three hundred of them, without side of our soldiers in a ring battalia, giving a volley of shot upon the fort. So remarkable it appeared to us, as we could not but admire at the providence of God in it, that soldiers so unexpert in the use of their arms, should give so complete a volley, as though the finger of God had touched both match and flint. Which volley being given at break of day, and themselves fast asleep for the most part, bred in them such a terror, that they brake forth into a most doleful cry; so as if God had not fitted the hearts of men for the service, it would have bred in them a commiseration towards them. But every man being bereaved of pity, fell upon the work without compassion, considering the blood they had shed of our native countrymen, and how barbarously they had dealt with them, and slain, first and last, about thirty persons. Having given fire, we approached near to the entrance, which they had stopped full with, arms of trees, or brakes. Myself approaching to the entrance, found the work too heavy for me, to draw out all those which were strongly forced in. We gave order to one Master Hedge, and some other soldiers, to pull out those brakes. Having this done, and laid them between me and the entrance, and without order themselves, proceeded first on the south end of the fort. But remarkable it was to many of us. Men that run before they are sent, most commonly have an ill reward. Worthy reader, let me entreat you to have a more charitable opinion of me (though unworthy to be better thought of) than is reported in the other book.* You may remember there is a passage unjustly laid upon me, that when we should come to the entrance I should put forth this question, Shall we enter? Others should answer again, What came we hither for else? It is well known to many, it was never my practice, in time of my command, when we are in garrison, much to consult with a private soldier, or to ask his advice in point of war; much less in a matter of so great a moment as that was, which experience had often taught me was not a time to put forth such a question; and therefore pardon him that hath given the wrong information. Having our swords in our right hand, our carbines or muskets in our left hand, we approached the fort, Master Hedge being shot through both arms, and more wounded. Though it be not commendable for a man to make mention of anything that might tend to his own honor, yet because I would have the providence of God observed, and his name magnified, as well for myself as others, I dare not omit, but let the world know, that deliverance was given to us that command, as well as to private soldiers. Captain Mason and myself entering into the wigwams, he was shot, and received many arrows against his head-piece. God preserved him from many wounds. Myself received a shot in the left hip, through a sufficient buff coat, that if I had not been supplied with such a garment, the arrow would have pierced through me. Another I received between neck and shoulders, hanging in the linen of my head-piece. Others of our soldiers were shot, some through the shoulders, some in the face, some in the head, some in the legs, Captain Mason and myself losing each of us a man, and had near twenty wounded. Most courageously these Pequeats behaved themselves. But seeing the fort was too hot for us, we devised a way how we might save ourselves and prejudice them. Captain Mason entering into a wigwam, brought out a firebrand, after he had wounded many in the house. Then he set fire on the west side, where he entered; myself set fire on the south end with a train of powder. The fires of both meeting in the centre of the fort, blazed most terribly, and burnt all in the space of half an hour. Many courageous fellows were unwilling to come out, and fought most desperately through the palisadoes, so as they were scorched and burnt with the very flame, and were deprived of their arms in regard the fire burnt their very bowstrings and so perished valiantly. Mercy did they deserve for their valor, could we have had opportunity to have bestowed it. Many were burnt in the fort, both men, women, and children. Others forced out, and came in troops to the Indians, twenty and thirty at a time, which our soldiers received and entertained with the point of the sword. Down fell men, women, and children ; those that scaped us, fell into the hands of the Indians that were in the rear of us. It is reported by themselves, that there were about four hundred souls in this fort, and not above five of them escaped out of our hands. Great and doleful was the bloody sight to the view of young soldiers that never had been in war, to see so many souls lie gasping on the ground, so thick, in some places, that you could hardly pass along. It may be demanded, Why should you be so furious? (as some have said). Should not Christians have more mercy and compassion? But I would refer you to David's war. When a people is grown to such a height of blood, and sin against God and man, and all confederates in the action, there he hath no respect to persons, but harrows them, and saws them, and puts them to the sword, and the most terriblest death that may be. Sometimes the Scripture declareth women and children must perish with their parents. Sometimes the case alters; but we will not dispute it now. We had sufficient light from the word of God for our proceedings.
* This fort, or palisado, was well nigh an acre of ground, which was surrounded with trees and half trees, set into the ground three feet deep, and fastened close one to another, as you may see more clearly described in the figure of it before the book.
* The other book here referred to, containing the charge of which Underhill complains, is Vincent's Relation of the Pequot War.
Having ended this service, we drew our forces together to battalia. Being ordered, the Pequeats came upon us with their prime men, and let fly at us; myself fell on scarce with twelve or fourteen men to encounter with them; but they finding our bullets to outreach their arrows, forced themselves often to retreat. When we saw we could have no advantage
against them in the open field, we requested our Indians for to entertain fight with them. Our end was that we might see the nature of the Indian war; which they granted us, and fell out, the Pequeats, Narragansets, and Mohigeners changing a few arrows together after such a manner, as I dare boldly affirm, they might fight seven years and not kill seven men. They came not near one another, but shot remote, and not point-blank, as we often do with our bullets, but at rovers, and then they gaze up in the sky to see where the arrow falls, and not until it is fallen do they shoot again. This fight is more for pastime, than to conquer and subdue enemies. But spending a little time this way, we were forced to cast our eyes upon our poor maimed soldiers, many of them lying upon the ground, wanting food and such nourishable things as might refresh them in this faint state. But we were not supplied with any such things whereby we might relieve them, but only were constrained to look up to God, and to entreat him for mercy towards them. Most were thirsty, but could find no water. The provision we had for food was very little. Many distractions seized upon us at the present. A chirurgeon we wanted; our chirurgeon, not accustomed to war, durst not hazard himself where we ventured our lives, but, like a fresh water soldier, kept aboard, and by this means our poor maimed soldiers were brought to a great strait and faintness, some of them swounding away for want of speedy help; but yet God was pleased to preserve the lives of them, though not without great misery and pain to themselves for the present. Distractions multiplying, strength and courage began to fail with many. Our Indians, that had stood close to us hitherto, were fallen into consultation, and were resolved for to leave us in a land we knew not which way to get out. Suddenly after their resolution, fifty of the Narraganset Indians fell off from the rest, returning home. The Pequeats spying them, pursued after them. Then came the Narragansets to Captain Mason and myself, crying, Oh help us now, or our men will be all slain. We answered, How dare you crave aid of us, when you are leaving of us in this distressed condition, not knowing which way to march out of the country? But yet you shall see it is not the nature of Englishmen to deal like heathens, to requite evil for evil, but we will succor you. Myself falling on with thirty men, in the space of an hour rescued their men, and in our retreat to the body, slew and wounded above a hundred Pequeats, all fighting men, that charged us both in rear and flanks. Having overtaken the body we were resolved to march to a certain neck of land that lay by the sea-side, where we intended to quarter that night, because we knew not how to get our maimed men to Pequeat river. As yet we saw not our pinnaces sail along, but feared the Lord had crossed them, which also the master of the barque much feared. We gave them order to set sail on the Narraganset Bay, about midnight, as we were to fall upon the fort in the morning, so that they might meet us in Pequeat river in the afternoon; but the wind being cross, bred in them a great perplexity what would become of us, knowing that we were but slenderly provided, both with munition and provision. But they being in a distracted condition, lifted up their hearts to God for help. About twelve of the clock the wind turned about and became fair; it brought them along in sight of us, and about ten o'clock in the morning carried them into Pequeat river. Coming to an anchor at the place appointed, the wind turned as full against them as ever it could blow. How remarkable this providence of God was, I leave to a Christian eye to judge. Our Indians came to us, and much rejoiced at our victories, and greatly, admired the manner of Englishmen's fight, but cried Mach it, mach it; that is, It is naught, it is naught, because it is too furious, and slays too many men. Having received their desires, they freely promised, and gave up themselves to march along with us, wherever we would go. God having eased us from that oppression that lay upon us, thinking we should have been left in great misery for want of our vessels, we diverted our thoughts from going to that neck of land, and faced about, marching to the river where our vessels lay at anchor. One remarkable passage. The Pequeats playing upon our flanks, one Sergeant Davis, a pretty courageous soldier, spying something black upon the top of a rock, stepped forth from the body with a carbine of three feet long, and, at a venture, gave fire, supposing it to be an Indian's head, turning him over with his heels upward. The Indians observed this, and greatly admired that a man should shoot so directly. The Pequeats were much daunted at the shot, and forbore approaching so near upon us. Being come to the Pequeat river we met with Captain Patrick, who under his command had forty able soldiers, who was ready to begin a second attempt. But many of our men being maimed and much wearied, we forbore that night, and embarked ourselves, myself setting sail for Seabrooke fort. Captain Mason and Captain Patrick marching over land, burned and spoiled the country between the Pequeat and Conetticot river, where we received them. The Pequeats having received so terrible a blow, and being much affrighted with the destruction of so many, the next day fell into consultation. Assembling their most ablest men together, propounded these three things. First, whether they would set upon a sudden revenge upon the Narragansets, or attempt an enterprise upon the English, or fly. They were in great dispute one amongst another. Sasachus, their chief commander, was all for blood; the rest for flight, Alleging these arguments: We are a people bereaved of courage, our hearts are sadded with the death of so many of our dear friends; we see upon what advantage the English lie; what sudden and deadly blows they strike; what advantage they have of their pieces to us, which are not able to reach them with our arrows at distance. They are supplied with everything necessary; they are flote and heartened in their victory. To what end shall we stand it out with them? We are not able; therefore let us rather save some than lose all. This prevailed. Suddenly after, they spoiled all those goods they could not carry with them, broke up their tents and wigwams, and betook themselves to flight. Sasachus, flying towards Conetticot plantation, quartered by the river side; there he met with a shallop sent down to Seabrooke fort, which had in it three men; they let fly upon them, shot many arrows into them. Courageous were the English, and died in their hands, but with a great deal of valor. The forces which were prepared in the Bay were ready for to set forth. Myself being taken on but for three months, and the soldiers willing to return to the Bay, we embarked ourselves, and set to sail. In our journey we met with certain pinnaces, in them a hundred able and well appointed soldiers, under the conduct of one Captain Stoughton, and other inferior officers; and in company with them one Mr. John Wilson, who was sent to instruct the company. These falling into Pequeat river, met with many of the distressed Indians. Some they slew, others they took prisoners.