A True Relation of what I kno & of Reports & my Understanding concerning the Begining & Progress of the War now between the English and the Indians.
In the Winter in the Year 1674, an Indian was found dead, and by a Coroner's Inquest of Plimouth p2 Colony iudged murdered.2 He was found dead in a Hole thro Ice broken in a Pond3 with his Gun and sum Foulls by him. Sum English suposed him thrown in, sum Indians yt I iudged intelegabell and impartiall in ye Case did think he fell in and was so drouned, and that the Ies did hurt his Throat, as the English said it was cut;4 but acnoledge p3 yt sumetimes naty Indians wold kill others but not as euer they herd to obscuer as if the dead Indian was not murdered. The dead Indian was caled Sansimun5 and a Christian yt could read and write. Report was he was a bad Man, yt King Philip got him to write his Will, and he made the Writing for a great Part of the Land to be his, but read as p4 if it had bin as Philip wrote; But it came to be known, and then he run away from him.
Now one Indian informed that three Indians had murdered him, and sheued a Coat yt he said thay gave him to conseall them. The Indians report yt the Informer had playd away his Coate, and these Men sent him ye Coate, and after demanded Pay, and he not to pay, so acused them, and knoing that it wold pleas the English so to think him a beter Christian, and the Reporte came yt the three Indians had confesed and acused Philip so to imploy them, and yt ye English wold hang Philip; so the Indians wear afraid, and reported yt the English had flatred them (or by threats) to bely Philip yt thay might kill him to have his Land, and yt if Philip had dun it, it was ther Law so to execute home there Kings iudged deserved it, yt he had no Case to hide it.6
p5 So Philip kept his Men in Armes. Plimoth Gouerner required him to disband his Men, and informed him his Jealousy was falce. Philip answered he would do no Harm, and thanked the Governer for his Information.7
The three Indians wer hunge, to the last denied the Fact; but one broke the Halter as it is reported, than desired to be sayed, and so was a littell while, then confessed they three had dun the Fact; and then he was hanged.8 And it was reported Sausimun before his death had informed of the Indian Plot, and yt if the Indians knew it they wold kill him, and that the Hethen might destroy the English for their Wickedness, as God had permitted the Heathen to destroy the Israellites of olde. So the English wear afraid and Philip was afraid, p6 and both incresed in Arems. But for four Yeares Time, Reports and Iealosys of War had bin veri frequent, yt we did not think yt now a War was breaking forth;9 but about a Week before it did,10 we had Case to think it wold. Then to indever to prevent it, we sent a Man to Philip, yt if he wold cum to the Fery we wold cum over to speke with him. About four Miles we had to cum; thither our Messenger cum to them; they not p7 aware of it behaved themselves as furious, but sudingly apeased when they understood who he was and what he came for, he called his Counsell and agreed to cum to us; came himself unarmed, and about 40 of his Men armed. Then 5 of us went over, 3 wear Magistrates. We sate veri friendly together.11 We told him our bisnes was to indever that they might not reseue or do Rong. They said that was well; they had dun no Rong, the p8 English ronged them. We said we knew the English said the Indians ronged them, and the Indians said the English ronged them, but our Desier was the Quarrell might rightly be desided, in the best Way, and not as Dogs desided their Quarrells. The Indians owned yt fighting was the worst Way; then they propounded how Right might take Place. We said, by Arbitration. They said that all English agreed against them, and so by Arbitration they had had much Rong; mani Miles square of Land so taken from them, for English wold have English Arbitrators; and once they were persuaded to give in their Armes, yt thereby Jealousy might be removed,12 and the English having p9 their Arms wold not deliver them as they had promised, untill they consented to pay a 100L, and now they had not so much Sum or Muny; yt thay wear as good be kiled as leave all ther Liueflyhode.13
We said they might chuse a Indian King and the English might chuse the Governor of New Yorke,14 yt nether had Case to say either wear Parties p10 in the Diferance. They said they had not heard of yt Way, and said we onestly spoke, so we wear perswaided if yt Way had bine tendered they would have acsepted. We did endeaver not to hear their Complaints, said it was not convenient for us now to consider of, but to indever to prevent War; said to them when in War against English, Blood was spilt, yt ingaged all Englishmen, for we wear to be all under one King; we knew what their Complaints wold be, and in our Colony had removed some of them in sending for Indian Rulers in what the Crime concerned Indians Lives, which they veri lovingly acsepted, and agreed with us to their Execution, and said so they were abell to satisfie their Subjects when they knew an Indian sufered duly, but said in what was only between their Indians and not in Towneshipes, yt we had purchased, they wold not have us prosecute, and yt that thay had great Fear to have ani of ther Indians should be caled or forced to be Christian Indians.15 Thay p11 said yt such wer in everi thing more mischievous, only Disemblers, and then the English made them not subject to ther Kings, and by their lying to rong ther Kings. We knew it to be true, and we promising them yt however in Government to Indians all should be alike, and yt we knew it was our King's will it should be so, yt altho we wear weaker than other Colonies, they having submitted to our King to protect them, others dared not otherwise to molest them; expressed thay took that to be well, that we had littell Case to doute, but that to us under the King thay would have yielded to our Determinations in what ani should have complained to us against them.
But Philip charged it to be disonestly in us to put of the Hering to iust Complaints, therefore we p12 consented to hear them. Thay said thay had bine the first in doing Good to the English, and the English the first in doing Rong; said when the English first came, their King's Father was as a great Man, and the English as a littell Child;16 he constrained other Indians from ronging the English, and gave them Corn and showed them how to plant, and was free to do them ani Good, and had let them have a 100 Times more Land than now the King had for his own Peopell. But ther King's Brother, when he was King, came miserably to dy by being forced to Court, as they judge p13 poysoned.17 And another Greavance was, if 20 of there onest Indiandº testfieid that a Englishman had dun them Rong, it was as nothing; and if but one of their worst Indians testified against any Indian or ther King, when it pleased the English it was sufitiant. Another Grievance was, when their King sold Land, the English wold say, it was more than they agreed to, and a Writing must be prove against all them, and sum of their Kings had dun Rong to sell so much. He left his Peopell none, and sum being given to Drunknes the English made them p14 drunk and then cheated them in Bargains, but now ther Kings wear forwarned not for to part with Land, for nothing in Cumparison to the Value thereof. Now home the English had owned for King or Queen, they wold disinheret, and make another King that wold give or sell them these Lands; that now, they had no Hopes left to kepe ani Land. Another Grievance, the English Catell and Horses still incresed; that when thay removed 30 Mill from where English had ani thing to do, thay could not kepe ther Corn from being p15 spoyled, thay never being iused to fence, and thoft when the English boft Land of them thay wold have kept their Catell upon ther owne Land. Another Grievance, the English were so eager to sell the Indians Lickers, yt most of the Indians spent all in Drynknes, and then raueved upon the sober Indians, and thay did believe often did hurt the English Catell, and ther King could not prevent it.
We knew before, these were their grand Complaints, but then only we indevered to persuaid yt all Cumplaints might be righted without War, but could have no other Answer but that thay had not heard of that Way for the Governor of Yorke and an Indian King to have the Hearing of it. We had Case to think in yt had bine tendered it wold have bine acsepted. We indevered yt however thay should lay doune the War, for the English wear to strong for them; thay said, then the English should do to them as they did when thay wear to strong for the English.
So we departed without ani Discurtiousness, and sudingly had Letter from Plimoth Governor thay intended in arms to conforem Philip, but no Information what yt was thay required or wt Termes p16 he refused to have their Quarrell desided; and in a Weke's Time after we had bine with the Indians the War thus begun.18 Plimouth Soldiers were cum to have their Head Quarters within 10 Miles of Philip; then most of the English thereabout left there Houses, and we had Leter from Plimouth Governor to desier our Help with sum Boats if thay had such Ocation, and for us to looke to our selfs; and from the Generall at the Quarters we had Leter of the Day they intended to cum upon the Indians, and desier for sum of our Boats to attend. So we took it to be of Nesesity for our Ieslanders one half one Day and Night to atend and the other half the next, so by Turnes for our owne Safety. In this Time sum Indians fell a pilfering sum Houses yt the English had left, and a old Man and a Lad going to one of these Houses did see three Indians run out thereof. The old Man bid the young p17 Man shoot; so he did, and a Indian fell doune, but got away againe. It is reported yt sum Indians came to the Gareson, asked why they shot the Indian. Thay asked whether he was dead. The Indians said yea. A English Lad saied it was no Mater. The Men indevered to inform them it was but an idell Lad's Words, but the Indians in haste went away and did not hearken to them. The next Day, the Lad that shot the Indian, and his Father, and fief English Men wear killed so the War begun with Philip.19 But ther was a Queen yt I knew p18 was not a Party with Philip, and Plimoth Governor recumended her yt if she wold cum to our Iesland it wold be well shee desired shee might if it wear but with but six of her Men.20 I can sufitiantly prove, but it is to large here to relate, that shee had practised much the Quarell might be decided without War; but sum of our English allso, in Fury against all Indians, wold not consent shee should be reseved to our Iesland although I profered to be at all the Charge to secuer her and those shee desired to cum with her; so at length prevailed we might send for her; but one Day acsedentaly we p19 wear prevented, and then our Men had seased sum Cannos on her Side, suposing they wear Philip's, and the next Day a English House was there burned and Mischief of either Side indevered to the other, and much dun, her House burned; and so we wear prevented of ani Menes to atain hir. The English Army cam not downe as informed thay wold, so Philip got over, and they could not find him. Three Days after, thay came doune, had a veri stormy Night, yt in the Morning the Foote wear disabled to return. Before they had Refreshment, thay wear free to acsept, as we wear willing to relieve them,21 but . . . Trupers sayed of their Captaine p20 they despised it, and so left the Foote. After the Foote had refreshed themselfs they also returned to their head Quarters, and after hunt[ing] Philip from all sea Shores, yt thay could not tell what was becum of him, the Naroganset Kings informed us yt the Queen aforesaid must be in a Thicket, a starving or conformed to Philip; but thay knew shee wold be glad to be from them, so from us had Incuragement to get her and as mani as they could from Philip.22
p21 After the English Army, without our Consent or informing us, came into our Colony, brought the Naroganset Indians to Articles of Agreement to them.23 Philip being flead, about a 150 Indians came in to a Plimouth Garrison volentarley. Plimouth Authority sould all for Slafes (but about six of them) to be carried out of the Country.24 It is p22 true the Indians genaraly are very barbarous Peopell but in this War I have not heard of their tormenting ani, but yt the English Army cote an old Indian and tormented him. He was well knone to have bine a long Time a veri decrepid and harmless Indian of the Queen's.25 As Philip fled the foresaid Queen got to the Narogansets, and as manni of her Men as she could get, but one Part of the Narogansets Agreement to Boston was to kill or deliver as mani as they could of Philip's Peopell, therefore Boston Men demanded the fore said Queene and others yt thay had so reseved; for which the Indians wear unfree, and made mani Excuses, as that the Queen was none of them, and sum others p23 wear but Sudierners with Philip becase removed by the English having got their Land, and wear of their Kindred, which we kno is true, not but we think they did shelter mani thay should not, and yt they did kno sum of their Men did assist Philip, but according to their barbarous Ruells thay accounted so was no Rong, or they could not help it. But sum enemies Heds thay did send in, and told us thay wear informed yt however when Winter came thay might be suer the English wold be their Enemies. And so thay stood doubtful for about 5 Months. The English wear iealous that there was a generall Plot of all Indians against English; and the Indians wear in like Manner iealous of the English. I think it was generall, yt thay wear unwilling to be ronged, and yt the Indians did iudg the English partiall against them, and among all a philthy Crue yt did desire and indever for War; and those of any Solidety wear against it, and indevered to prevent the War.26 For conserning Philip p24 we have good Intelligence yt he advised sum English to be gone from ther out Plases where they lived or they wear in Danger to be killed; but whether it wear to prevent a War, or by their Prests informed if thay begun thay should be beaten, and otherwise not, so we have good Intelligence; for I do think most of them had a Desire the English would begin; and if the English be not carefull to manifest the Indians mai expect Equity from them, thay mai have more Enemies than thay wold, and more Case of Jelosy.27
The Report is, yt to ye Estward the War thus begun, by supposing yt sum of those Indians were at a Fight in these Parts, and yt thear thay saw a Man wounded, so Authority sent sum forth to discuser, having before disarmed those Indians and confined them to a Place which the Indians wear p25 not ofended at; but these Men coming upon them in a warlike Postuer, they fled; yt the Men cote but 3 of them. Those in Authority sent out againe to excuse themselfs, but thay could only cum to the Spech with one Man; as he kept out of their Rech, thay excused themselfs and said his Father was not hurt; one of them thay had taken. He said he could not believe them, for if it was so, thay wold have broft him; thay had bin desaitfull to disarm them, and so wold have killed them all; and so he run away, and then English wear killed, and the Report is, yt in the Country here away thay had demanded the Indians' Armes, and went againe to parrell with them, and the Indians by Ambushcade tretcherously killed 8 yt wear going to treat with them.28
When Winter was cum we had Leter from p26 Boston of the iunited Comitioners that thay wear resolved to reduce the Narogansets to Conformity, not to be trubled with them ani more, and desered sum Help of Botes and otherwise, if we saw Case, and yt we should kepe Secret conserning it.29 Our Governor sent them Word we wear satesfied Narragansets wear tretcherous, and had ayded Philip, p27 and as we had asisted to relive ther Army before, so we should be ready to asist them still, and advised yt Termes might be tendred yt such might expect Compation yt would acsept not to ingag in War, and yt ther might be a Separation betwene the Gilty and the Inosent which in War could not be expected, we not in the lest expecting thay wold have begun the War and not before proclaimed it, or not give them Defianc.
I having often informed the Indians yt English Men wold not begin a War, otherwise it was brutish so to do. I am sorry so the Indians have Case to think me desaitfull, for the English thus began the War with the Narogansets, we having sent ofe our Iesland mani Indians and informed them if thay kept by the water Side and did not medell; yt however the English wold do them no Harem, altho it was not save for us to let them live here. The Army first take all those Prisoners then fell upon Indian Houses, burned them and killed sum Men. The War [began] without Proclamation, and sum of our Peopell did not kno the English had begun Mischief to Indians, and being confedent and had Case therefore; yt the Indians wold p28 not hurt them before the English begun, so did not kepe ther Gareson exactly; but the Indians having reseued yt Mischief came unexpected upone them, destroyed 145 of them beside other great Loss, but the English Army say thay suposed Conetecot Forces had bine there. Thay solde the Indians yt thay had taken as afoersaid, for Slafes, but one old Man yt was caried of our Iesland upone his Sun's Back he was so decreped could not go, and when the Army tooke them upon his Back caried him to the Garison, sum wold have had him devoured by Doges, but the Tendernes of sum of them prevailed to cut ofe his Head; and after came sudingly upon the Indians whear the Indians had prepared to defend themselfs, and so reseved and did much Mischief, and for aboute six Weeks sinc hath bine spent as for both Parties to recruet. And now the English Army is out to seeke after the Indians, but it is most lickly yt such most abell to do Mischief will escape, and Women and Children and Impotent mai be destroyed, and so the most abell will have the less Incumbranc to do Mischief.30
p29 But I am confident it wold be best for the English and Indians yt a Peas wear made upone onest Terems, for each to have a dew Propriety and to enioy it without Opretion or Iusurpation by one to the other, but the English dear not trust the Indian's Promises, nether the Indians to the Englishes Promises; and each have gret Case therefor. I see no Way likely, but if a Sessation from Arems might be procured untill it might be known what Terems King Charles wold propound; for we have gret Case to think the Naroganset Kings wold trust our King, and yt thay wold have acsepted him to be Umpier if it had bine tendered, about ani Diferanc; for we do kno the English have had much p30 Contention against these Indians to invaled the king's Determination for Naroganset to be in our Colony; and we have Case to think yt was the great Case of the war against them.
I see no Menes likely to prevent a Sesation from Arems, except the Gouevner of New York can find a Way so to intersete, and so it will be likely a Pease mai be made without trubbling our King; not but it allwais hath bine a Prinsipell in our Colonly,º yt ther should be but one supreme to English Men, and in our natief Country wher ever English any Iurisdiction; and so we know no English should begin a War and not first tender for the King to be Umpier, and not Persecute such yt can not conforem to ther Worship; and ther Worship be what is not owned by the King, the King not to mind to have such Things redresed, sum mai take it that he hath not Pouer, and that ther mai be a Wai for them to take Pouer in Oposition to him.31 I am so perswaided of New England Prists, p31 thay are so blinded by the Spirit of Persecution and to maintaine to have Hyer, and to have Name to be mere Hyrelings yt thay have bine the Case yt the Law of Nations and the Law of Arems have bine violated in this War; and yt the War had not bine if there had not bine a Hyerling, that for his Moni, giving what he caleth the Gospel by Voiolanc to have it chargabell for his Gaine from his Quarter; and if ani in Magistracy be not so as ther pack Horses, thay will be trumpating for Inovation or War.32
1 John Easton, the Author of this Account, was the Son of Nicholas Easton, who emigrated to New England with his Sons Peter and John, in the Spring of 1634, and settled at Ipswich. He subsequently removed to Newburgh, and then to Hampton, where he built the first English House. In 1638 he removed to Rhode Island, on account of the religious Intolerance he experienced, as a Quaker, and the second Year after settled at Newport, where he also built the first House. In 1641 this was burned by the Indians setting Fire on his Lands. In 1640 and 1653 he was chosen an Assistant, and from 1650 to 1652, and in 1654, he was President under the first colonial Charter. From 1672 to 1674 he held the Office of Governor, and died at Newport in 1675.
His Son John Easton, held the Office of Attorney General of Rhode Island fifteen Years between 1652 and 1675, was Deputy Governor in 1674‑1675; was several Times an Assistant, and from 1690 to 1695 he was elected Governor. He died at Newport, Dec. 12, 1705, aged 88 Years, and was buried in the Coddington burial Place. Callender's Discourse, p125, 148: Peterson's Hist. R. I. — Ed.
2 He was first buried by his Friends, without an Investigation, but David, a Tetticut Indian, having noticed some Bruises about the Head, reported to some English and the Governor of Plymouth ordered an Inquest. This proved that sufficient Injuries had been received to cause Death without drowning. An Indian also acknowledged, that while standing on a Hill near the Pond, he saw the Murder committed, but being fearful for his own Life, at first was unwilling to disclose it. Bayley's Plymouth, II, 27. — Ed.
3 Assawomsett Pond, in Middleborough, in the Present County of Plymouth, Mass. — Ed.
4 Other Accounts state that his Neck was broken. C. Mather. — Ed.
5 This Indian was John Sassamon, alias Wassasamon, of the Massachusetts Tribe, who had been converted to Christianity and received a partial Course of Instruction at Harvard College. Being well acquainted with the English Language, and able to read and write, he was employed as a Teacher at Natick. Renouncing his Faith, he went to reside with Alexander, Philip's Brother, and afterwards with Philip, where his Learning made him useful as a Secretary. He thus had the Means of becoming thoroughly acquainted with the Sachem and his Plans.
Incurring the Displeasure of his Employer, or yielding to the Solicitations of his Friend and Instructor the venerable Eliot, he returned to Natick, where, upon Professions of Repentance, he was again baptized, received into the Church, and employed as an Instructor. Being frequently with his Countrymen, he gained a full Knowledge of the hostile Feeling that was rapidly spreading among them, and going to Plymouth he imparted this Information to the Governor.
This Advice was at first disregarded, but Circumstances soon occurred to strengthen his Statement, and Philip with several of his Indians were examined, but without gaining any new Proof of the Allegation. They were accordingly dismissed, under strong Suspicions, and Sassamon disappeared soon after. His Death occurred early in the Spring of 1674‑75. Bayley's Plymouth II, 27; Drake's Book of Indians, 194 et seq. — Ed.
6 Tobias, alias Poggapanossoo, one of Philip's Counsellors, his Son, and Mattashinnamy, were apprehended and tried by a Jury consisting of four Indians and twelve Whites. On the 8th of June, 1675, two of them were hung, and a few Days after the third was shot, at Plymouth, one of them, before his Execution, confessing the Murder, but the others denying it to the last. One of the absurd Grounds of Evidence that influenced the Jury is thus related by Dr. Increase Mather: "When Tobias (the suspected Murderer) came near the dead Body, it fell a bleeding on fresh, as if it had been newly slain; albeit, it was buried a considerable Time before that." Mather's Relation, 75; Drake's Book of Indians, 195. — Ed.
7 Other Accounts state that Philip paid no attention to the Court, and made no Effort to free himself from the Suspicions that were aroused against him, marching from Place to Place with his Men in Arms, and receiving all strange Indians who came to him. Bailey's Plymouth, II, 28. — Ed.
8 This Circumstance is not mentioned by other Contemporaries. — Ed.
9 Strong Suspicions of Indian Hostilities had arisen in the Spring of 1671, occasioned by warlike Preparations on the Part of Philip and Men on Account of some Injury alleged to have been done to his Planting Ground. The Massachusetts Government, anxious to preserve Peace, sent Agents to mediate between the Parties, and on the 12th of April a Conference was obtained at the Meeting House in Taunton. Philip represented that his Preparations were designed to protect himself from the Narragansetts, but on its being shown that his Relations with that Tribe were never more friendly, he acknowledged the Charges and signed a Covenant in which he agreed to remain friendly to the Colonists, and to deliver up to the Government of New Plymouth all his English Arms, to be kept by them for their Security so long as they might see Reason. Hubbard, Mather, Hutchinson, Bayley, &c. Another Conference was held in September of the same Year. A letter from the Governor of New York, on the Subject of these Rumors of Hostility, will be found in a subsequent Page of this Volume. — Ed.
10 This Indian War began June 24th, 1675, at Swansea, and ended with the Death of Philip, Aug. 12, 1676, at Pokanoket. — Ed.
11 No other Historian of this War has given an Account of this Negotiation. The Relations existing between the Indians and the Government of Rhode Island, had been friendly from the Beginning, and all the Engagements on the Part of that English had been fulfilled with scrupulous Exactness. Mr. Roger Williams relates that he had obtained by Love and Favor the Title of Rhode Island, which could not have been purchased by Price or Money, and that the Indians, always shy and jealous of selling their Lands, chose rather to make a Grant of them to such as they esteemed. The Gratuities however expected in return, often made these Gifts a very dear Bargain. Callender's Discourse, 85.
It is said that shortly before the War of 1675 began, the Governor of Massachusetts sent to inquire of Philip why he would war upon the English, and to request him to enter into a Treaty. The Sachem replied: "Your Governor is but a Subject of King Charles of England; I shall not treat with a Subject. I shall treat of Peace only with the King my Brother. When he comes I am ready." Old Indian Chronicle, 68. The Respect and Confidence which the People of Rhode Island had acquired with the Indians, secured a Hearing for their pacific Overtures on the above Occasion, at a Time when probably no other English could have safely an Interview. — Ed.
12 The Conference at Taunton, April 12, 1671, is here referred to. All the Arms which Philip's Men had with them on that Occasion were given up, and they agreed to bring in the Remainder at Plymouth by a certain Time. But this for some Reason was not done. The Government at Boston being looked to as an Umpire, a Complaint was made to them by the Colony of New Plymouth. Philip appeared in Person, and by his plausible Address quieted all Apprehensions, and proposed that Commissioners from the several United Colonies should meet at Plymouth for a Discussion and Settlement of the existing Differences. This Meeting occurred Sept. 29th, 1671, and "Philip again acknowledged his Offence, and was appointed to give a Sum of Money to defray the Charges which his insolent Clamors had put the Colony unto." Mather's Relation, 73. The Sum agreed upon, as stated in the Text, was £100, payable in three Years. He also agreed "to send unto the Governor, or whom he shall appoint, five Wolves' Heads, if he can get them, or as many as he can procure, until they come to five Wolves' Heads yearly." The Disarming of the Indians was continued through the Spring and Summer of 1671. Drake's Book of the Indians, 204. — Ed.
13 The Indians of New England were first taught the Use of Firearms by Thomas Morton, an unprincipled and dangerous Adventurer, who came over with Captain Wolaston in 1622, in the Capacity of a Servant, and settled in the present Town of Quincy. In the Absence of Wolaston he succeeded in persuading his Associates to throw off all Obligation to their Master, and they fell into the most riotous Excesses. The neighboring Settlements becoming alarmed, united in suppressing this Nuisance, and Morton was sent a Prisoner to England in 1628. Bradford's Hist. of Plymouth Plantation, 238. At the Time of Philip's War, the Use of Firearms had become general among the Indians throughout New England, mostly superceding the primitive Weapons of the Natives, and forming an indispensable Means of Success in Hunting. — Ed.
14 Sir Edmund Andros, was at this Time Governor of New York, but at the breaking out of the War, he was absent in England, and the Government was administered by Capt. Anthony Brockholls the Lieutenant Governor. — Ed.
The Statement inadvertently made in Note 2, Page 9, concerning the Absence of the Governor, is erroneous. He did not sail for England until November, 1677.
15 The Narragansetts in particular, made it a Matter of public Policy to oppose the Propagation of the Christian Religion among them. The Priests and Sachems imagined that the Prevalence of the Gospel would put an end to their Authority, and although Mr. Roger Williams at first attempted to Instruct the Natives in religious Matters, upon longer Acquaintance he appears to have changed his Opinion on this Subject. Callender's Discourse, 136; Coll. R. I. Hist. Soc., III, 9; Bayley's Plymouth, II, 16. Better Results followed the Labors of Eliot, the Mayhews, and others in Massachusetts, Plymouth, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, but even among the praying Towns in which Gookin enumerates about 1150 Indians in 1674, in six Years after, Eliot claimed but four out of fourteen Towns with some 300 Souls. Some had joined Philip and the others had been much scattered. — Ed.
16 Massasoit, the Father of Philip, and Chief of the Wampanogas,º at the Time of the Arrival of the English at Plymouth, dwelt at Sowams, in the present Town of Warren, R. I., and his People occupied the Region now constituting Bristol, Barrington, and Warren, in Rhode Island, with Parts of Seekonk and Swanzeaº in Massachusetts. This Tribe, with others of New England, had a few Years before been greatly reduced by an Epidemic. The Dominion of Massasoit extended over nearly all the southern Part of Massachusetts, from Cape Cod to Narragansett Bay. Note to Bradford's Hist. of Plymouth Plantation, p94. So greatly were the Settlers of Plymouth reduced by Sickness and Famine, in the early Years of their Residence, that they must have fallen an easy Prey to any concealed Plan of Hostilities. The Kindness and Assistance which they received from the Natives is gratefully acknowledged by several of their early Annalists. — Ed.
17 Alexander, alias Wamsutta the elder Son of Massasoit, succeeded to his Authority upon the Death of the latter in the Winter of 1661‑2. He had married Weetamoo, Squaw-Sachem of Pocasset, and thus extended his Influence with the Natives. From his Conduct in 1662, towards the Narragansetts his ancient Enemies, Suspicions were raised that he might be plotting Mischief against the English, and the Governor of Plymouth appointed Captain Willet, who lived near the Residence of Alexander, to desire him to attend the next Court at Plymouth, which he agreed to do. He failed to attend, and Circumstances appearing to confirm the Reports, Major Winslow was ordered to bring him before them by Force. This Party surprised the Sachem and about eighty of his Men, and having secured their Arms made known their Instructions. He at first "fell into a raging Passion at this Surprise, saying that the Governor had no reason to credit Rumors, or to send for him in such a Way, nor would he go to Plymouth but when he saw Cause." (J. Mather). Yielding to the Advice of his Interpreter (a Brother of John Sassamon) he went with them. On his Way being taken sick, he was received and nursed at the House of Mr. Winslow, but his Malady increasing, his Followers entreated those that held him Prisoner that he might have leave to return. He was accordingly dismissed with the Promise of sending his Son as a Hostage till he could appear, and died on his Way Home (Mather; Hubbard.) Philip and Weetamoo always believed he was poisoned, and from this Time, without Doubt, a deep and settled Purpose of Vengeance was harbored by Philip. Fear or Policy, had induced him to yield an outward Compliance, and subscribe to the written Conditions which they imposed, but the Interval was busily occupied in maturing his Schemes, and engaging the Alliance of the neighboring Tribes. The Spring of 1676 is said to have been agreed upon as the Time for commencing Hostilities, but the Death of Sassamon, and the Trial and Executions which followed, are believed to have led to a Rupture before his Plans were matured. — Ed.
18 The Execution of the alleged Murderers of Sassamon, greatly irritated the Indians, insomuch that Philip, sending the Wives and Children of his Tribe for Protection to the Narragansetts, allowed his young Men to commence Aggressions by killing the Cattle and plundering the Houses of the English, on the 24th of June, 1675. Irritated at this, the Indians were fired upon, and one was wounded. Accounts differ somewhat in relation to the Manner in which Hostilities commenced. — Ed.
19 An Account printed soon after this War in London, and republished in Boston in 1836, with others under the Title of the Old Indian Chronicle, gives the following Version of this Event. "By this Time the Indians have killed several of our Men, but the first that was killed was June 23, a Man at Swansey; that he and his Family had left his House amongst the Rest of the Inhabitants, and adventuring with his Wife and Son (about twenty Years old) to go to his House to fetch them Corn, and such like Things (he having just before sent his Wife and Son away), as he was going out of the House was set on and shot by Indians. His Wife being not far off, heard the Guns go off, went back," and fell into their Hands. Dishonored and afterwards scalped by them she immediately died, and her Son was at the same Time scalped. "They also the next Day killed six or seven Men at Swansey, and two more at one of the Garrisons; and as two Men went out of one of the Garrisons to draw a Bucket of Water, they were shot and carried away." Drake's Book of the Indians, 209. — Ed.
20 This Indian Queen was undoubtedly Awashonks, Squaw Sachem of Sogkonate (Seconet), the Wife of an Indian, called Tolony. Her Residence was on a Peninsula on the northeast Side of Narragansett Bay, opposite the Island of Rhode Island, and now chiefly included in the Town of Compton, R. I. A few Days before the War commenced, Philip sent six of his Warriors to invite her to join him in it. Mr. Benjamin Church, who afterwards acted a conspicuous Part in the War, and who had lived with his Family a Year in the midst of her People, induced her to decline the Invitation and to consent to place herself under the Protection of the English. He advised her to pass over to Rhode Island for Security, and proceeded to Plymouth to make Arrangements according to this Agreement. He arrived June 7, but was prevented from returning by the Outbreak of Hostilities, and the good-hearted Awashonks was constrained, though reluctantly, to join Philip. Drake's Book of the Indians, 249; Bayley's Plymouth, II.28, 32. Church. — Ed.
21 The Government of Massachusetts at first imagined that Hostilities might be averted by Mediation, but were quickly undeceived, and on the 26th of June, they dispatched a Company of Infantry and of Horse to Mount Hope, to aid the Plymouth Forces already in the Field. They reached Swansey in two Days, depressed with gloomy Forebodings from a lunar Eclipse, in which the Superstitious read a melancholy Omen of the divine Displeasure. After several sharp Encounters with the Indians, it was decided to march to Mount Hope where Philip was posted. The Inclemency of the Weather prevented an immediate Execution of this Purpose for several Days, which Delay was improved by the Indians in effecting their Escape by Water, and when the Troops finally proceeded, they met only with revolting Trophies of Massacre and Desolation. The Quarters lately occupied by the Enemy were found deserted, with Evidences of their precipitate Flight. Finding no Enemy, General Cuddeback with some of the Plymouth Forces passed over to Rhode Island to obtain better Shelter than could be found at Mount Hope, while Major Savage with the Massachusetts Troops, remained in the open Fields through an inclement Night, and the next Morning returned to Swansey. Bayley's Plymouth, II, 38. — Ed.
22 The Assistance which Awashonks rendered to Philip was more from Fear or Policy than from Inclination. She and her People appear to have spent the Winter with the Enemy on the Frontiers of Massachusetts, and in June, 1676, through the Influence of Mr. Benjamin Church, friendly Relations were restored between her and the English. She offered to join her Forces with those of the Colonists against the Enemies of the latter, on Condition that she and all of her Warriors with their Wives should have their Lives spared, and that none of them should be transported out of the Country. This Treaty was never afterwards broken. About the Year 1700 there were one hundred Men of this Tribe, and about 1760, a mortal Fever swept off many. A Remnant was living in Compton in 1803. Drake's Book of the Indians, 252. — Ed.
23 The Massachusetts Government had given Orders for their Troops to proceed to the Narragansett Country and prevent any Aid being rendered by them to Philip. Part of the Country occupied by these Indians was found abandoned, and several Days elapsed before they met with any Indians with whom to treat. At length four Men were found, whom the English styled Sachems, and a Treaty in the Name of the whole Tribe, secured by Hostages, and most humiliating in its Conditions, was drawn up, and signed on the 15th of July, 1675. This Treaty was held at Pettyquamsott, now Narrow River. By this Agreement, the Narragansetts were bound to the impossible Task of seizing all and every of Philip's Subjects, and bringing them dead or alive to the English; they were to kill them wherever found, and to restore all stolen Goods. A large Reward was promised for Philip delivered alive, or for his Head if slain. Bayley's Plymouth, II, 48; Drake's Book of the Indians, 211. — Ed.
24 Soon after the Destruction of Dartmouth, a Party of Indians who had not been concerned in the Outrage, were induced to surrender through Persuasion and Promises and were taken to Plymouth where the Government ordered the whole, to the Number of about one hundred and sixty, to be sold as Slaves. Bayley's Plymouth, II, 47. "In the beginning of the War, Capt. Moseley captured eighty who were confined at Plymouth. In September following, one hundred and eighty Captives were put on board a Vessel commanded by Captain Sprague, who sailed with them from Plymouth for Spain." Drake's Book of Indians, 224. In Rhode Island, Numbers of Indian Captives were sold into Servitude for a limited Time. — Ed.
25 While this Reputation of Forbearance from Cruelties on the Part of the Indians is scarcely sustained by the Evidence of contemporary Records, that of Barbarity to the Indian Prisoners by the English is abundantly proven. The War was upon both Sides one of Extermination, and in their Eagerness to accomplish this Purpose, friendly Indians and those who had surrendered themselves under Pledges of Protection were in several Cases massacred. In September, 1675, an Indian Prisoner was executed in Boston, to appease the Fury of a Mob, "in a Manner so revolting, that were the Truth alone related, the Reader's Belief might be confounded." Drake's Boston, 410. — Ed.
26 Although there were well grounded Suspicions that the Narragansetts were in secret Alliance with Philip, War was not openly declared against them until November following. The Commissioners of the United Colonies appointed Governor Winslow, Commander in Chief of all their Forces, and made Arrangements for an active Winter Campaign. Moore's Lives of Governors of N. Plymouth. — Ed.
27 "Tradition says: 'He was forced on by the Fury of his young Men against his own Judgment and Inclination; and that though he foresaw and foretold the English would in Time by their Industry root out all the Indians, yet he was against making War with them, as what he thought would only hurry on and increase the Destruction of his People,' and the Event proved he judged right." The Powaws had given out an ambiguous Oracle, in which they promised the Indians would be successful, if the English fired the first Gun, and that no Englishman should ever kill Philip. Callender's Discourse, 126. — Ed.
28 This account appears to be an incorrect Report of the Proceedings against the Indians under Wonolancet, in the Country of the Merrimack in September, 1675. As this Transaction is elsewhere reported, the Indians exhibited an unparalleled Forbearance under the Injuries they received from the English, and the latter having the next Year enticed about 400 Indians within their Power, sold into foreign Slavery or executed more than half of this Number. Drake's Book of Indians, 279. — Ed.
29 The Commissioners of the United Colonies met at Boston, September 9, 1675, at which those of Plymouth laid before their Body a Narrative of the Origin and Progress of the War. Upon receiving this they at once declared War against the Indians, and agreed to raise a thousand Soldiers of whom half were to be Dragoons. These Troops were levied upon the several Colonies in the following Proportion: Massachusetts 527, Plymouth 158, Connecticut 315. To encourage volunteer Parties, the Plunder which they might obtain, whether Goods or Persons, was promised to the Captors, and Bounties were offered to friendly Indians for such Captives of the Enemy as they might bring in. Although the Narragansetts had been suspected to be concerned in Philip's Plans Individuals of that Tribe had been found openly engaged in arms against the English, it does not appear that they had fully and openly commenced Hostilities at this Time. In October, 1675, a written Engagement had been renewed by several Sachems of the Tribe in which they engaged to deliver up every Indian belonging to Philip, the Pocasset Squaw (Weetamoo, former Wife of Alexander, Philip's brother), Saconet, Quabaug, Hasley, or other hostile Indians. This Agreement had been evaded, and the United Colonies were in Consequence induced to undertake their Extermination. At another Meeting the Force formerly ordered was increased, and their united Forces were placed under the Command of Josias Winslow of Plymouth Colony. — Ed.
30 The memorable swamp Fight of Dec. 18, 19, had not occurred at the Time the above Narrative was written. In this sanguinary Engagement the Indians lost over 700, and of the English 80 were killed and 150 wounded. (See Coll. R. I. Hist. Soc., III, 84; IV, 132; V, 161. Bayley's Plymouth, II, 93. Drake's Book of Indians, 218. Also Hubbard, Mather and other Historians). The Share taken by Rhode Island in this War is thus stated by Callender: "As to the Part this Colony had in that War, it must be observed that though the Colony was not, as they ought to have been, consulted, yet they not only afforded Shelter and Protection to the flying English, who deserted from many of the neighboring Plantations in Plymouth Colony, and were kindly received by the Inhabitants, and relieved and allowed to plant the next Year on their Commons for their Support; but they likewise furnished some of the Forces with Provisions and Transports." Hist. Discourse, 133. — Ed.
31 It will be remembered that the Writer of this Account was a Quaker, who many Years before, with others, had sought in Rhode Island an Asylum from the religious Intolerance of Massachusetts. The Sect to which he belonged was especially noted for its Disapproval of the System of a professional and paid Clergy, common among other religious Denominations. — Ed.
32 The Sequel of the War of 1675‑6, is briefly stated in the introductory Chapter. — Ed.
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