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CONNECTICUT PAUGAUSSETT INDIANS

 

 

 

 

PHILIP VINCENT

A TRUE RELATION OF THE LATE BATTELL FOUGHT IN NEW ENGLAND

 

 

<HOMEPAGE

 

RELATION

OF

The late Battell fought in New

England, between the English and the

Pequet Salvages.

In which were slaine and taken prisoners

about 700 of the Salvages, and those which

escaped, had their heads cut off by

the Mohocks:

With the present state of things
there.

LONDON,

Printed by Thomas Harper, for Nathanael Butter,
and lohn Bellamie, 1638.

[The copy from which we print belongs to the Library of Harvard University. The copy belonging to our Society is deficient both at the beginning and end, and we know of no other from which the hiatus could be supplied. Publishing Committee, Mass. Hist. Soc.]

DVcit in Americam varios gens Angla colonos:
Et bene conveniunt sidera, terra, solum.
Astferus hoc prohibet, solis vagabundus in arms,

Insolitoque aliquos, incola, Marte necat.
Quod simul invitas crimen pervenit ad aures

Angligenum, irato murmure cuncta fremunt.
Tune Icesijusta arma movent, hostemque sequuntur,

Struxerat haud vanis qui munimenta locis.
Invadunt vallum, palis sudibusque munitum :

(Pax erit: hoc uno solvitur ira modo.J
Vndique concidunt omnes, pars una crematur:

Post, ccesi aut capti, ccetera turba luit.
Vtraque Icetatur Pequetanis Anglia victis,

Et uovus, ceternum hicfigimur, hospes ait.
Virginia exultat, vicina Novonia gaudet,

Signaque secures certa quietis habent.
Plaudite qui colitis Mavortia sacra nepotes,

Et serat incultos tutus arator agros.
Quce novus orbis erat, spiranti numine (Lector)

Anglia nascetur, quce novus orbis erit.

P. Vincentius.

Nihil obstare videtur quo minus hcec
Rc/atio typis mandetur.

A true relation of the late battle fought

in New-England, between the English and Salvages, with the present state of things there.

New England (a name now every day more famous) is so called, because the English were the first discoverers, and are now the planters thereof. It is the eastern coast of the north part of America, upon the southwest adjoining to Virginia, and part of that continent, large and capable of innumerable people. It is in the same height with the north of Spain and south part of France, and the temper not much unlike; as pleasant, as temperate, and as fertile as either, if managed by industrious hands.

This is the stage. Let us in a word see the actors. The year 1620, a company of English, part out of the Low Countries, and some out of London and other parts, were sent for Virginia. But being cut short by want of wind, and hardness of the winter, they landed themselves in this country, enduring, with great hope and patience, all the misery that desert could put upon them, and employed their wits to make their best use of that then snow-covered land for their necessities. After two years' experience of the nature of the soil, commodities, and natives, they returned such intelligence to their masters, that others took notice of their endeavors and the place. Then some western merchants collected a stock, and employed it that way. But they discouraged through losses and want of present gain, some Londoners and others (men of worth) undertook it, with more resolution, building upon the old foundation. Hence a second plantation, adjoined to the other, but supported with better pillars and greater means. All beginnings are ever difficult. The half, saith the proverb, is more than the whole. Some errors were committed, and many miseries were endured. No man is wise enough to shun all evils that may happen; but patience and painfulness overcame all. The success proved answerable even to ambitious expectations, notwithstanding the impediments inevitable to such undertakings.

There is scarce any part of the world but habitable, though more commodiously by human culture. This part (though in its naturals) nourished many natives, distinguished into divers petty nations and factions. It were needless curiosity to dispute their original, or how they came hither. Their outsides say they are men, their actions they say are reasonable. As the thing is, so it operateth. Their correspondency of disposition with us, argueth all to be of the same constitution, and the sons of Adam, and that we had the same matter, the same mould. Only art and grace have given us that perfection which yet they want, but may perhaps be as capable thereof as we. They are of person straight and tall, of limbs big and strong, seldom seen violent, or extreme in any passion. Naked they go, except a skin about their waist, and sometimes a mantle about their shoulders. Armed they are with bows and arrows, clubs, javelins, &c. But as soil, air, diet, and custom, make ofttimes a memorable difference in men's natures, so it is among these nations, whose countries there are like so many shires here, of which every one hath their sagamore, or king, who, as occasion urgeth, commandeth them in war, and ruleth them in peace. Those where the English pitched, have showed themselves very loving and friendly, and done courtesies beyond expectation for these new-come inmates; so that much hath been written of their civility and peaceful conversation, until this year.

But nature, heaven's daughter, and the immediate character of that divine power, as by her light she hath taught us wisdom, for our own defence, so by her fire she hath made us fierce, injurious, revengeful, and ingenious in the device of means for the offence of those we take to be our enemies. This is seen in creatures void of reason, much more in mankind. We have in us a mixture of all the elements, and fire is predominant when the humors are exagitated. All motion causeth heat; all provocation moveth choler; and choler inflamed becometh a phrensy, a fury, especially in barbarous and cruel natures. These things are conspicuous in the inhabitants of New England; in whose southernmost part are the Pequets, or Pequants, a stately, warlike people, which have been terrible to their neighbors, and troublesome to the English.

In February last they killed some English at Seabrooke, a southerly plantation beyond Cape Cod, at the mouth of the river of Connectacutt. Since that the lieutenant of the fort there, with ten men armed, went out to fire the meadows, and to fit them for moving. Arriving there, he started three Indians, whicli he pursued a little way, thinking to cut them off. But presently they perceived themselves encompassed with hundreds of them, who let fly their arrows furiously, and came desperately upon the muzzles of their muskets, though the English discharged upon them with all the speed they could. Three Englishmen were there slain, others wounded. The eight that remained made their way through the salvages with their swords, and so got under the command of the cannon of the fort, (otherwise they had been all slain or taken prisoners), one of the wounded falling down dead at the fort gate. The Indians thus fleshed and encouraged, besieged the fort as near as they durst approach. The besieged presently despatched a messenger to the Governor at the Bay, to acquaint him with these sad tidings, who with all speed lent unto their aid Captain Underhill, with twenty soldiers. Not long after these salvages went to Water Towne, now called Wetherfield, and there fell upon some that were sawing, and slew nine more, whereof one was a woman, the other a child, and took two young maids prisoners, killing some of their cattle, and driving some away. Man's nature insulteth in victory and prosperity, and by good success is animated even in the worst of wicked actions. These barbarians triumphed and proceeded, drawing into their confederacy other Indians, as the Nyantecets, and part of the Mohigens, of whom about fifty chose rather to join with the English, and sat down at New-Towne, at Connectacut (now called Hereford, as the other town that went from Dorchester thither is called Windsore). Fame increaseth by flying. The former sad news was augmented by the report of sixty men slain at Master Pinchen's plantation, &c. which proved false. The Narragansets, neighbors to the Pequets, sent word to the English, that the Pequets had solicited them to join their forces with them. Hereupon the Council ordered that none should go to work, nor travel, no, not so much as to church, without arms. A corps of guard of fourteen or fifteen soldiers was appointed to watch every night, and sentinels were set in convenient places about the plantations, the drum beating when they went to the watch, and every man commanded to be in readiness upon an alarm, upon pain of five pound. A day of fast and prayers was also kept. Forty more were sent to strengthen the former twenty that went to the fort, and fifty under the command of Captain Mason, which being conjoined were about one hundred. Two hundred more were to be sent after them with all expedition.

The fifty Mohigins that joined with the English, scouting about, espied seven Pequets, killed five of them outright, wounded the sixth mortally, took the seventh prisoner, and brought him to the fort. He braved the English, as though they durst not kill a Pequet. Some will have their courage to be thought invincible, when all is desperate. But it availed this salvage nothing. They tied one of his legs to a post, and twenty men, with a rope tied to the other, pulled him in pieces. Captain Underbill shooting a pistol through him, to despatch him. The two maids which were taken prisoners were redeemed by the Dutch.

Those fifty sent from the three plantations of Con

nectacut with Captain Mason, being joined with Captain Underbill and his twenty men, (for the other forty were not yet arrived with them), immediately went upon an expedition against the Pequets, after they had searched for them. The manner was this. The English with some Mohigens went to the Naragansets, who were discontented that they came no sooner, saying they could arm and set forth two or three hundred at six hours warning, (which they did accordingly, for the assistance of the English); only they desired the advice of the sagamore, Mydutonno, what way they should go to work, and how they should fall on the Pequets; whose judgment in all things agreed with the English, as though they had consulted together. Then went they to the Nyanticke, and he set forth two hundred more; but before they went, he swore them after his manner upon their knees. As they marched, they deliberated which fort of the Pequets they should assault, resolving upon the great fort, and to be there that night. Being on the way, and having a mile to march through swamps, the Nyanticke hearts failed, for fear of the Pequets, and so they ran away, as also did some of the Narragansets. Of five or six hundred Indians, not above half were left; and they had followed the rest, had not Captain Underhill upbraided them with cowardice, and promised them they should not fight or come within shot of the fort, but only surround it afar off. At break of day, the seventy English gave the fort a volley of shot, whereat the salvages within made a hideous and pitiful cry; the shot, without all question, flying through the palisadoes (which stood not very close) and killing or wounding some of them. Pity had hindered further hostile proceedings, had not the remembrance of the bloodshed, the captive maids, and cruel insolency of those Pequets, hardened the hearts of the English, and stopped their ears unto their cries. Mercy mars all sometimes; severe justice must now and then take place.

The long forbearance and too much lenity of the English towards the Virginian salvages, had like to have been the destruction of the whole plantation. These barbarians, ever treacherous, abuse the goodness of those that condescend to their rudeness and imperfections. The English went resolutely up to the door of the fort. What! shall we enter? said Captain Underbill.* What come we for else? answered one Hedge, a young Northamptonshire gentleman; who, advancing before the rest, plucked away some bushes, and entered. A stout Pequet encounters him, shoots his arrow, drawn to the head, into his right arm, where it stuck. He slashed the salvage betwixt the arm and shoulder, who, pressing towards the door, was killed by the English. Immediately Master Hedge encountered another, who perceiving him upon him before he could deliver his arrow, gave back; but he struck up his heels and run him through; after him he killed two or three more. Then about half the English entered, fell on with courage, and slew many. But being straitened for room because of the wigwams, (which are the salvage huts or cabins), they called for fire to burn them. An Englishman stepped into a wigwam, and stooping for a firebrand, an Indian was ready to knock out his brains: but he whipt out his

[* Underhill denies this statement.]

sword and run him into the belly, that his bowels followed. Then were the wigwams set on fire, which so raged, that what therewith, what with the sword, in little more than an hour betwixt three and four hundred of them were killed, and of the English only two ´┐Żone of them by our own muskets, as is thought. For the Naragansets beset the fort so close, that not one escaped. The whole work ended, ere the sun was an hour high, the conquerors retreated down toward the pinnace, but in their march were infested by the rest of the Pequets, who scouting up and down, from the swamps and thickets let fly their arrows a-main, which were answered by English bullets. The Indians that then assisted the English, waiting the fall of the Pequets, (as the dog watcheth the shot of the fowler, to fetch the prey), still fetched them their heads, as any were slain. At last the Narragansets perceiving powder and shot to fail, and fearing to fall into the hands of their enemies, betook themselves to flight upon the sudden, and were as suddenly encompassed by the Pequets. Fear defeateth great armies. If an apprehension of imminent danger once possess them, it is in vain to stay the runaways. No oratory can recall them, no command can order them again. The only sure way is, by all means that may be, promises, threats, persuasions, &c., to maintain and keep up courage, where yet it is. But these fearful companions had one anchor, whose cable was not broken. They sent speedily to the English, who came to their rescue; and after five muskets discharged, the Pequets fled. Thus freed from that fear, they vowed henceforth to cleave closer to the English, and never to forsake them in time of need. The reason why the English wanted ammunition was, because they had left that which they had for store, with their drum, at the place of their consultation; but found it in their return. They now all went a-shipboard, and sailed to Seabrook fort, where the English feasted the Narragansets three days, and then sent them home in a pinnace.

Let me now describe this military fortress, which natural reason and experience hath taught them to erect, without mathematical skill, or use of iron tool. They choose a piece of ground, dry and of best advantage, forty or fifty foot square (but this was at least two acres of ground.) Here they pitch, close together as they can, young trees and half trees, as thick as a man's thigh or the calf of his leg. Ten or twelve foot high they are above the ground, and within rammed three foot deep with undermining, the earth being cast up for their better shelter against the enemy's dischargements. Betwixt these palisadoes are divers loopholes, through which they let fly their winged messengers. The door for the most part is entered sideways, which they stop with boughs or bushes, as need requireth. The space therein is full of wigwams, wherein their wives and children live with them. These huts or little houses are framed like our garden arbors, something more round, very strong and handsome, covered with close-wrought mats, made by their women, of flags, rushes, and hempen threads, so defensive that neither rain, though never so bad and long, nor yet the wind, though never so strong, can enter. The top through a square hole giveth passage to the smoke, which in rainy weather is covered with a pluver. This fort was so crowded with these numerous dwellings, that the English wanted foot-room to grapple with their adversaries, and therefore set fire on all.

The Mohigens which sided with the English in this action, behaved themselves stoutly; which the other Pequets understanding, cut off all the Mohigens that remain with them (lest they should turn to the English) except seven; who flying to our countrymen, related this news, and that about an hundred Pequets were slain, or hurt in the fight with the English, at their return from the fort; moreover, that they had resolved to have sent an hundred choice men out of their fort, as a party against the English, the very day after they were beaten out by them; but being now vanquished, Sasacus, the Pequetan captain, with the remainder of this massacre, was fled the country.

It is not good to give breath to a beaten enemy, lest he return armed, if not with greater puissance, yet with greater despite and revenge. Too much security, or neglect in this kind, hath ofttimes ruined the conquerors. The two hundred English, therefore, resolved on before, were now sent forth to chase the barbarians, and utterly root them out. Whereupon, Captain Underhill with his twenty men returned, and gave this account of those exploits of the New Englanders, which here we have communicated to the old English world. This last party invaded the Pequetan country, killed twenty-three, saved the lives of two sagamores for their use hereafter, as occasion shall serve, who have promised to do great matters for the advancing of the English affairs. They pursued the remnant threescore

miles beyond the country, till within six and thirty miles of the Dutch plantations on Hudson's river, where they fought with them, killed forty or fifty, besides those that they cut off in their retreat, and took prisoners one hundred and eighty, that came out of a swamp, and yielded themselves upon promise of good quarter. Some other small parties of them were since destroyed; and Captain Patrick, with sixteen or eighteen, brought eighty captives to the Bay of Boston. The news of the flight of Sassacus, their sagamore, is also confirmed. He went with forty men to the Mohocks, which are cruel, bloody cannibals, and the most terrible to their neighbors of all these nations; but will scarce dare ever to carry arms against the English, of whom they are sore afraid, not daring to encounter white men with their hot-mouthed weapons, which spit nothing else but bullets and fire.

The terror of victory changeth even the affection of the allies of the vanquished, and the securing of our own estates makes us neglect, yea forsake or turn against our confederates, and side with their enemies and ours, when we despair of better remedy. These cruel, but wily Mohocks, in contemplation of the English, and to procure their friendship, entertain the fugitive Pequets and their captain by cutting off all their heads and hands, which they sent to the English, as a testimony of their love and service.

A day of thanksgiving was solemnly celebrated for this happy success; the Pequetans now seeming nothing but a name, for not less than seven hundred are slain or taken prisoners. Of the English are not slain in all above sixteen. One occurrent I may not forget. The endeavors of private men are ever memorable in these beginnings; the meanest of the vulgar is not incapable of virtue, and consequently, neither of honor. Some actions of plebeians have elsewhere been taken for great achievements. A pretty sturdy youth of New Ipswich, going forth somewhat rashly to pursue the salvages, shot off his musket after them till all his powder and shot were spent; which they perceiving, re-assaulted him, thinking with their hatchets to have knocked him in the head: but he so bestirred himself with the stock of his piece, and after with the barrel, when that was broken, that he brought two of their heads to the army. His own desert, and the encouragement of others, will not suffer him to be nameless. He is called Francis Wainwright, and came over servant with one Alexander Knight, that kept an inn in Chelmsford.

I have done with this tragic scene, whose catastrophe ended in a triumph. And now give me leave to speak something of the present state of things there. The transcribing of all colonies is chargeable, fittest for princes or states to undertake. Their first beginnings are full of casualty and danger, and obnoxious to many miseries. They must be well grounded, well followed, and managed with great stocks of money, by men of resolution, that will not be daunted by ordinary accidents. The Bermudas and Virginia are come to perfection, from mean, or rather base beginnings, and almost by as weak means, beyond all expectation and reason. But a few private men, by uniting their stocks and desires, have now raised New England to that height, that never any plantation of Spaniards, Dutch, or any other arrived at, in so small a time. Gain is the loadstone of adventures; fish and furs, with beaver wool, were specious baits. But whilst men are all for their private profit, the public good is neglected, and languisheth. Woful experience had too evidently instructed New England's colonies in the precedents of Guiana, the Charibe islands, Virginia, and Novania or New-found-land, (now again to be planted by Sir David Kirke, though part of the old planters there yet remain). We are never wiser, than when we are thus taught. The New-Englanders, therefore, advanced the weal public all they could, and so the private is taken care for.

Corn and cattle are wonderfully increased with them, and thereof they have enough, yea sometime to spare to new comers, besides spare rooms or good houses to entertain them in; where they may make Christmas fires all winter, if they please, for nothing. I speak not of the naturals of the country, fish, fowl, &c., which are more than plentiful. They that arrived there this year out of divers parts of Old England, say, that they never saw such a field of four hundred acres of all sorts of English grain, as they saw at Winter-towne there. Yet that ground is not comparable to other parts of New England, as Salem, Ipswich, Newberry, &c. In a word, they have built fair towns of the land's own materials, and fair ships too, some whereof are here to be seen on the Thames; they have overcome cold and hunger, are dispersed securely in their plantations sixty miles along the coast, and within the land also, along some small creeks and rivers, and are assured of their peace, by killing the barbari

ans, better than our English Virginians were by being killed by them. For having once terrified them, by severe execution of just revenge, they shall never hear of more harm from them, except, perhaps, the killing of a man or two at his work, upon advantage, which their sentinels and corps-du-guards may easily prevent. Nay, they shall have those brutes their servants, their slaves, either willingly or of necessity, and docible enough, if not obsequious. The numbers of the English amount to above thirty thousand, which, (though none did augment them out of England), shall every day be, doubtless, increased, by a faculty that God hath given the British islanders, to beget and bring forth more children than any other nation of the world. I could justify what I say from the mouths of the Hollanders, and adjoining provinces, where they confess, (though good breeders of themselves), that never woman bore two children, nor yet had so many by one man, till the English and Scots frequented their wars, and married with them. I could give a good reason hereof from nature, as a philosopher, (with modesty be it spoken), but there is no need. The air of New England, and the diet, equal, if not excelling 'that of Old England: besides, their honor of marriage, and careful preventing and punishing of furtive congression, giveth them and us no small hope of their future puissance and multitude of subjects. Herein, saith the wise man, consisteth the strength of a king, and likewise of a nation, or kingdom.

But the desire of more gain, the slavery of mankind, was not the only cause of our English endeavors for a plantation there. The propagation of religion was that precious jewel for which these merchant ventures compassed both sea and land, and went into a far country to search and seat themselves. This I am sure they pretended, and I hope intended. Only this blessing from my heart I sincerely wish them, and shall ever beseech the Almighty to bestow upon them, devout piety towards God, faithful loyalty towards their sovereign, fervent charity among themselves, and discretion and sobriety in themselves, according to the saying of that blessed Apostle, Rom. xii. 3. Not to be wise (in spiritual things) above what w be wise unto wise sobriety.

Doubtless there was no chastise the insolency of th cides, than a sharp war pursu and speed. Virginia our mother for her precedent a rule, hath taught do in these difficulties, forewarn They were endangered by their peace, secured by their enmity and the natives. From these experimen now inhabitants of those two sister out unto themselves an armor of lay a sure foundation to their future

FINIS.