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Title: Miles Standish - The Puritan Captain
Author: Abbott, John S. C. (John Stevens Cabot)
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Miles Standish - The Puritan Captain" ***

[Illustration: _BURIAL HILL, PLYMOUTH._]










  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1872, by
  In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.

  Bridgeport, Conn.

  108 Wooster St., N. Y.

                         TO THE DESCENDANTS OF

                        CAPTAIN MILES STANDISH,

                        NOW NUMBERING THOUSANDS,
                        THE LUSTRE OF THAT NAME,

                                                  JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.


The adventures of our Pilgrim Fathers must ever be a theme of absorbing
interest to all their descendants. Their persecutions in England, their
flight to Holland, their passage across the stormy ocean, this new
world, as they found it, swept by the storms of approaching winter,
their struggles with the hardships of the wilderness, and conflicts
with the ferocious savage,--all combine in forming a narrative replete
with the elements of entertainment and instruction.

Fortunately, there can be no doubt in reference to the essential facts.
All these events have occurred within the last three hundred years,
a period fully covered by authentic historical documents. In giving
occasional extracts from these documents, I have deemed it expedient to
modernize the spelling, and occasionally to exchange an unintelligible,
obsolete word for one now in use.

For a period of about forty years, Captain Miles Standish was
intimately associated with the Pilgrims. His memory is inseparably
connected with theirs. It has been a constant pleasure to the author
to endeavor to rear a worthy tribute to the heroic captain and the
noble man, who was one of the most illustrious of those who laid the
foundations of this great Republic.

                JOHN S. C. ABBOTT.




  Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity.--Oppressive Enactments.--
      King James and his Measures.--Persecution of the
      Non-Conformists.--Plans for Emigration.--The Unavailing
      Attempt.--The Disaster near Hull.--Cruel Treatment of the
      Captives.--The Exiles at Amsterdam.--Removal to Leyden.--
      Decision to Emigrate to America.--The reasons.--Elder
      Brewster Selected as Pastor.--The Departure from Leyden.--
      Scene at Delft Haven.--The Embarkation.                          9


  The Departure from Southampton.--Hindrances.--Delay at
      Dartmouth and Plymouth.--Abandonment of the Speedwell.--
      Sketch of Miles Standish.--Death at Sea.--Perils and
      Threatened Mutiny.--Narrow Escape of John Howland.--
      Arrival at Cape Cod.--Testimony of Governor Bradford.--The
      Civil Contract.--John Carver Chosen Governor.--The First
      Exploring Tour.--The Sabbath.                                   30


  Repairing the Shallop.--The Second Exploring Tour.--Interesting
      Discoveries.--Return to the Ship.--A Week of Labor.--The
      Third Exploring Tour.--More Corn Found.--Perplexity of the
      Pilgrims.--The Fourth Expedition.--The First Encounter.--
      Heroism of the Pilgrims.--Night of Tempest and Peril.--A
      Lee Shore Found.--Sabbath on the Island.                        44


  The Voyage Resumed.--Enter an Unknown Harbor.--Aspect of the
      Land.--Choose it for their Settlement.--The Mayflower
      Enters the Harbor.--Sabbath on Shipboard.--Exploring the
      Region.--The Storm and Exposure.--The Landing.--View from
      the Hill.--Arduous Labors.--The Alarm.--Arrangement of the
      Village.--The Evident Hostility of the Indians.--Gloomy
      Prospects.--Expedition of Captain Standish.--Billington
      Sea.--Lost in the Woods.--Adventures of the Lost men.--The
      Alarm of Fire.                                                  71


  Days of Sunshine and Storm.--Ravages of Pestilence.--A Raging
      Storm.--New Alarm of Fire.--Twelve Indians Seen.--
      Two Indians Appear on the Hill.--Great Alarm in the
      Settlement.--Measures of Defense.--More Sunny Days.--
      Humanity and Self-Denial of Miles Standish and Others.--
      Conduct of the Ship’s Crew.--Excursion to Billington Sea.--
      The Visit of Samoset.--Treachery of Captain Hunt.--The
      Shipwrecked Frenchmen.--The Plague.--The Wampanoags.--More
      Indian Visitors.--Bad Conduct of the Billingtons.               92


  Two Savages on the Hill.--The Return of Samoset with Squantum.--
      The Story of Squantum.--The Visit of Massasoit and His
      Warriors.--Etiquette of the Barbarian and Pilgrim Courts.--
      The Treaty.--Return of the Mayflower to England.--A View
      of Plymouth.--Brighter Days.--Visit of Messrs. Winslow and
      Hopkins to the Seat of Massasoit.--Incidents of the Journey.


  The Lost Boy.--The Expedition to Nauset.--Interesting
      Adventures.--The Mother of the Kidnapped Indians.--
      Tyanough.--Payment for the Corn.--Aspinet, the Chief.--
      The Boy Recovered.--Alarming Intelligence.--Hostility
      of Corbitant.--The Friendship of Hobbomak.--Heroic
      Achievement of Miles Standish.--The Midnight Attack.--
      Picturesque Spectacle.--Results of the Adventure.--Visit
      to Massachusetts.--The Squaw Sachem.--An Indian Fort.--
      Charming Country.--Glowing Reports.                            145


  Arrival of the Fortune.--Object of the Pilgrims in their
      Emigration.--Character of the New-Comers.--Mr. Winslow’s
      Letter.--The First Thanksgiving.--Advice to Emigrants.--
      Christmas Anecdote.--Alarming Rumor.--The Narragansets.--
      Curious Declaration of War.--The Defiance.--Fortifying
      the Village.--The Meeting in Council and the Result.--The
      Alarm.--The Shallop Recalled.                                  164


  The Double-Dealing of Squantum.--False Alarm.--Voyage to
      Massachusetts.--Massasoit Demands Squantum.--The Arrival
      of the Boat.--The Virginia Massacre.--Preparations for
      Defense.--Arrival of the Charity and the Swan.--Vile
      Character of the Weymouth Colonists.--Arrival of the
      Discovery.--Starvation at Weymouth.--Danger of the Plymouth
      Colony.--Expeditions for Food.--Death of Squantum.--Voyage
      to Massachusetts and the Cape.                                 187


  Search for Corn.--Trip to Buzzard’s Bay.--Interesting
      Incident.--Energy and Sagacity of Captain Standish.--
      Hostile Indications.--Insolence of Witeewamat.--The Plot
      Defeated.--Sickness of Massasoit.--The Visit.--Gratitude
      of the Chief.--Visit to Corbitant.--Condition of the
      Weymouth Colony.--The Widespread Coalition.--Military
      Expedition of Captain Standish.--His Heroic Adventures.--
      End of the Weymouth Colony.                                    209


  Letter from Rev. Mr. Robinson.--Defense of Captain Standish.--
      New Policy Introduced.--Great Destitution.--Day of Fasting
      and Prayer.--Answer to Prayer.--The First Thanksgiving.--
      The Colony at Weymouth.--Worthless Character of the
      Colonists.--Neat Cattle from England.--Captain Standish
      Sent to England.--Captain Wollaston and His Colony.--
      Heroism of Captain Standish.--Morton Vanquished.--
      Difficulty at Cape Ann.--Increasing Emigration.--The
      Division of Property.                                          232


  The Virginia Emigrants.--Humanity and Enterprise of the
      Governor.--Envoy Sent to England.--Trading-Posts on the
      Kennebec and Penobscot Rivers.--Capture by the French.--
      The Massachusetts Colony.--Its Numbers and Distinguished
      Characters.--Trade with the Indians.--Wampum the New
      Currency.--Trading-Post at Sandwich.--Sir Christopher
      Gardener.--Captain Standish Moves to Duxbury.--Lament of
      Governor Bradford.                                             257


  Removal to Duxbury.--Intercourse with the Dutch.--Trading-Posts
      on the Connecticut.--Legend of the Courtship of Miles
      Standish.--Personal Appearance of the Captain.--Proposition
      to John Alden.--His Anguish and Fidelity.--Interview
      with Priscilla.--The Indian Alarm.--Departure of Captain
      Standish.--Report of his Death.--The Wedding.                  281


  Menace of the Narragansets.--Roger Williams.--Difficulty on
      the Kennebec.--Bradford’s Narrative.--Captain Standish
      as Mediator.--The French on the Penobscot.--Endeavors to
      Regain the Lost Port.--Settlements on the Connecticut
      River.--Mortality Among the Indians.--Hostility of the
      Pequots.--Efforts to Avert War.--The Pequot Forts.--Death
      of Elder Brewster.--His Character.                             301


  Friendship Between Captain Standish and Mr. Brewster.--Character
      of Mr. Brewster.--His Death and Burial.--Mode of Worship.--
      Captain’s Hill.--Difficulty with the Narragansets.--
      Firmness and Conciliation.--Terms of Peace.--Plans
      for Removal from Plymouth.--Captain Standish’s Home in
      Duxbury.--Present Aspect of the Region.                        332


  The Will of Captain Standish.--His Second Wife.--Captain’s
      Hill.--The Monument.--Letters from President Grant and
      General Hooker.--Oration by General Horace Binney Sargent.--
      Sketch of his Life.--Other Speakers.--Laying the Corner
      Stone.--Description of the Shaft.                              358



_The Pilgrims in Holland._

  Elizabeth’s Act of Uniformity.--Oppressive Enactments.--King
      James and his Measures.--Persecution of the Non-Conformists.--
      Plans for Emigration.--The Unavailing Attempt.--The Disaster
      near Hull.--Cruel Treatment of the Captives.--The Exiles
      at Amsterdam.--Removal to Leyden.--Decision to Emigrate to
      America.--The reasons.--Elder Brewster Selected as Pastor.--
      The Departure from Leyden.--Scene at Delft Haven.--The

Elizabeth, the maiden queen of England, commenced her long and eventful
reign by issuing in May, 1659 a law concerning religion entitled the
“Act of Uniformity.” By this law all ministers were prohibited from
conducting public worship otherwise than in accordance with minute
directions for the Church of England, issued by Parliament. Any one who
should violate this law was exposed to severe penalties, and upon a
third offence to imprisonment for life.

England, having broken from the Church of Rome, and having established
the Church of England, of which the queen was the head, Elizabeth
and her counsellors were determined, at whatever cost, to enforce
entire uniformity of doctrines and of modes of worship. In their new
organization they retained many of the ceremonies and much of the
imposing display of the Papal Church. There were very many of the
clergy and of the laity who, displeased with the pageantry of the Roman
Catholic Church, with its gilded robes and showy ceremonial, were
resolved to cherish a more simple and pure worship. They earnestly
appealed for the abolition of this oppressive act. Their petition was
refused by a majority of but one in a vote of one hundred and seventeen
in the House of Commons.

The queen was unrelenting, and demanded uniformity in the most
peremptory terms. Thirty-seven out of the ninety-eight ministers of
London were arrested for violating this law. They were all suspended
from their ministerial functions, and fourteen of them were sent to

There were now three ecclesiastical parties in England--the Papal
or Roman Catholic, the Episcopal, or Church of England, and the
Presbyterian or Puritan party. The sympathies of the queen and of her
courtiers was much more with the Papists than with the Presbyterians,
and it was greatly feared that they would go over to their side. The
queen grew daily more and more determined to enforce the discipline of
the English Church. The order was issued that all preachers should be
silenced who had not been ordained by Episcopal hands, or who refused
to read the whole service as contained in the Prayer book, or who
neglected to wear the prescribed clerical robes. Under this law two
hundred and thirty-three ministers, in six counties, were speedily
deposed. A Court of High Commission was appointed invested with
extraordinary powers to arrest and punish all delinquents.

Any private person who should absent himself from the Episcopal Church
for a month, or who should dissuade others from attending that form of
worship, or from receiving the communion from an Episcopal clergyman,
or who should be present at any “conventicle or meeting under color
or pretence of any exercise of religion,” should be punished with
imprisonment and should be held there until he signed the “Declaration
of Conformity.” Or in default of such declaration he was to be sent
to perpetual exile under penalty of death if he were ever again found
within the British realms.

Notwithstanding that many were banished, and some died in prison and
several were hanged, the cause of dissent secretly gained ground. As
they were deliberating in the House of Commons upon a more rigid law to
compel all to adopt the same creed and the same modes of Worship, Sir
Walter Raleigh said that he thought that there were then nearly twenty
thousand dissenters in England. Many driven from their homes by this
violent persecution emigrated to Holland where, under Protestant rule
there was freedom of religious worship.

Upon the accession of James the Sixth of Scotland to the throne of
England, eight hundred clergymen petitioned for redress. Among other
things they prayed for the disuse of the cap and surplice in the
pulpit, for an abridgement of the Liturgy, for the better observance
of the Lord’s day, and for a dispensation of the observance of other
holy days; that none but pious men should be admitted to the ministry,
and that ministers should reside in their parishes and preach on the
Lord’s day. To this appeal the king turned a deaf ear. In a conference
which was held upon the subject, in Hampton court, the petitioners
were received with contumely and insult. The king refused to pay any
respect to private consciences, saying, “I will have one doctrine, one
discipline, one religion. And I will make you conform or I will harry
you out of this land or else worse.”

A book of Common Prayer was published as “the only public form
established in this realm,” and all were required to conform to its
ritual and discipline as the king’s resolutions were unchangeable. Ten
of the petitioners for a redress of grievances were sent to jail. The
king himself, a conceited pedant, drew up a Book of Canons consisting
of one hundred and forty-one articles, expressed in the most arrogant
style of pretensions to infallibility. The clergy and the laity were
alike commanded to submit to them under penalty of excommunication,
imprisonment and outlawry. The importation of all religious books from
the Continent was prohibited. No religious book could be published in
England unless approved by a court of Bishops. It is estimated that,
at that time there were fifteen hundred Non-Conformist clergymen in
England. Bishop Coverdale, with many others of the most prominent
ecclesiastics of the Episcopal church, publicly announced their refusal
to subscribe to the Liturgy or to adopt the ceremonies it enjoined. In
their protest they declared that since “they could not have the Word
freely preached, and the sacraments administered without idolatrous
gear, they concluded to break off from the public churches and separate
in private houses.”

The persecution of the Non-Conformists was continued with so much
vigor, that the friends of religious reform became hopeless. Some
sought refuge in concealment, while many fled from their country to
Holland where, the principles of Protestantism prevailing, there was
freedom of worship. In the county of Nottinghamshire, England, there
was a small village called Scrooby, where there was a congregation of
Non-Conformists, meeting secretly from house to house. This was about
the year 1606. A recent traveller gives the following interesting
description of the present appearance of the little hamlet, which
more than two and a half centuries ago was rendered memorable by the
sufferings of the Puritans:

“The nearest way from Austerfield to Scrooby is by a path through
the fields. Unnoticed in our history as these places have been till
within a few years, it is likely that when, towards sunset on the 15th
of September 1856, I walked along that path, I was the first person,
related to the American Plymouth, who had done so since Bradford
trod it last before his exile. I slept in a farm-house at Scrooby
and reconnoitered that village the next morning. Its old church is a
beautiful structure. At the distance from it of a quarter of a mile
the dyke, round the vanished manor house, may still be traced; and
a farmer’s house is believed to be part of the ancient stables or
dog kennels. In what was the garden is a mulberry tree so old that
generations, before Brewster, may have regaled themselves with its
fruit. The local tradition declares it to have been planted by Cardinal
Wolsey, during his sojourn at the manor for some weeks after his fall
from power.”

The little church of Non-Conformists at Scrooby had Richard Clifton
for pastor and John Robinson for teacher. William Brewster, who
subsequently attained to much distinction as pastor of the Puritan
church in Plymouth, New England, was then a private member of the
church. This little band of christians decided to emigrate in a body to
Holland that they might there worship God in freedom.

It was a great trial to these christians to break away from their
country, their homes, and their employments, to seek exile in a land
of strangers. To add to their embarrassments cruel laws were passed
forbidding the emigration of any of the Non-Conformists or Puritans
as they began to be called. Bands of armed men vigilantly guarded all
the seaports. Governor Bradford, who shared conspicuously in these
sufferings, wrote:

“They could not long continue in any peaceable condition, but were
hunted and persecuted on every side. Some were taken and clapped up
in prison. Others had their houses beset and watched night and day,
and hardly escaped capture. The most were fain to fly and leave their
houses and habitations and the means of their livelihood. Yet seeing
themselves thus molested, by a joint consent they resolved to go into
the Low Countries where they heard was freedom of religion for all
men; as also that sundry persons from London, and other parts of the
land, had been exiled and persecuted for the same cause, and were gone
thither, and lived at Amsterdam and other places of the land.

“Being thus constrained to leave their native soil and country, their
lands and living, and all their friends and familiar acquaintance, it
was much, and thought marvellous by many. But to go into a country they
knew not except by hearsay, where they must learn a new language, and
get their livings they knew not how, it being an expensive place and
subject to the miseries of war, it was by many thought an adventure
almost desperate, a case intolerable, and a misery worse than death.
Especially seeing they were not acquainted with trades or traffic,
by which the country doth subsist, but had been only used to a plain
country life and the innocent trade of husbandry.

“But these things did not dismay them, though they did at times trouble
them, for their desires were set on the ways of God and to enjoy his
ordinances. But they rested on His providence and knew whom they had
believed. Yet this was not all; for though they could not stay, yet
were they not suffered to go; but the ports and havens were shut
against them; so as they were fain to seek secret means of conveyance,
and to bribe and fee the mariners, and give extraordinary rates for
their passages. And yet they were often betrayed, many of them, and
both they and their goods intercepted and surprised, and thereby put to
great trouble.”

The company at Scrooby however secretly chartered a vessel, at Boston,
in Lincolnshire, about fifty miles south-east from Scrooby, the nearest
port for their purpose. The peril of the enterprise was so great that
they had to practise the utmost caution and to pay exorbitant passage
money. They travelled by land to the appointed rendezvous, where to
their bitter disappointment, they found neither captain nor vessel.
After a long delay and heavy expenses, for which they were quite
unprepared, the vessel made its appearance and, in the night, all
were received on board. Then this infamous captain, having previously
agreed to do so for his “thirty pieces of silver,” betrayed them, and
delivered them all up to the search officers.

Rudely they were seized, their trunks broken open, their clothing
confiscated, and even the persons of their women searched with cruel
indelicacy. Thus plundered and outraged they were placed in open boats
and taken to the shore, where they were exhibited to the derisive gaze
and the jeers of an ignorant and a brutal populace. A despatch was
immediately sent to the Lords of the Council in London, and they were
all committed to prison. After gloomy incarceration for a month, Mr.
Brewster and six others of the most prominent men were bound over for
trial, and the rest were released, woe-stricken, sick and impoverished,
to find their way back, as best they could, to the Scrooby which they
had left, and where they no longer had any homes. Oh man! what a fiend
hast thou been in the treatment of thy brother man!

The next Spring a portion of these resolute men and women made another
attempt to escape to Holland. They did not venture again to trust one
of their own countrymen, but made a contract with a Dutch shipmaster,
from Zealand. He agreed to have his vessel, at an appointed day, in a
retired spot upon the river Humber, not far from the seaport of Hull.
Arrangements were made for the women and children, with their few
goods, to be floated down the Humber in a barque, while the men made
the journey by land. This was all done under the protection of night.

The Humber here swells into a bay, a long and wide arm of the sea.
The wind was high, and the little barque, plunging over the waves,
made the women and children deadly sea sick. Having arrived near
their point of destination, before the dawn of the morning and the
vessel not yet having arrived, the boatmen put into a little creek to
find still water. Here the receding tide left them aground. In the
morning came the ship. The captain, seeing the barque containing the
women and children aground, and the men, who had come by land walking
near by upon the shore, sent his boat to bring the men on board, that
they might be already there when the returning tide should float the
barque. One crowded boat load had reached the ship when a body of armed
men, horse and foot, was seen rapidly approaching. The captain was
terrified. Fine, imprisonment, and perhaps a worse fate awaited him.
Uttering an oath, he weighed anchor, spread his sails, and a fresh
breeze soon carried him out to sea.

Dreadful indeed was the condition of those thus abandoned to the
insults and outrages of a brutal soldiery. Husbands and wives, parents
and children were separated. The anguish of those, thus torn from their
families, on board the ship, was no less than the distress of the
mothers and daughters left upon the shore.

A storm soon rose--a terrific storm. For seven days and nights the
ship was at the mercy of the gale, without sight of sun or moon or
stars. The ship was driven near to the coast of Norway; and more than
once the mariners thought the ship sinking past all recovery. At length
the gale abated and, fourteen days after they had weighed anchor, the
vessel reached Amsterdam, where from the long voyage and the fury of
the tempest, their friends had almost despaired of ever again seeing

But let us return to those who were left upon the banks of the Humber.
They were all captured. Deplorable was the condition of these unhappy
victims of religious intolerance, women and children weeping bitterly
in their despair. Some of the men, who knew that the rigors of the law
would fall upon them with the greatest severity, escaped. But most
of those who had been left behind by the ship allowed themselves to
be taken to share the fate of the destitute and helpless women and
children, that they might if possible, assist them. The troops were
very cruel in the treatment of their prisoners. They were roughly
seized and hurried from one justice to another, the officers being much
embarrassed to know what to do with them.

Governor Bradford, who witnessed these scenes, writes:--“Pitiful it
was to see the heavy care of these poor women in this distress; what
weeping and crying on every side; some for their husbands that were
carried away in the ship; others not knowing what would become of them
and their little ones; others melted in tears seeing their little ones
hanging about them, crying for fear and quaking with cold.”

In view of their sufferings general sympathy was excited in their
behalf. It seemed inhuman to imprison, in gloomy cells of stone and
iron, women and innocent children, simply because they had intended to
accompany their husbands and fathers to another land. It was of no use
to fine them, for they had no means of paying a fine. Neither could
they be sent to their former homes, for their houses and lands had
already been sold, in preparation for their removal.

At last the poor creatures were turned adrift. No historic pen has
recorded the details of their sufferings. Some undoubtedly perished
of exposure. Some were kindly sheltered by the charitable, and some
succeeded in various ways in crossing the sea to Amsterdam. There were
similar persecutions in other parts of England. Quite a large company
of pilgrims from various sections of England had succeeded, some in one
way and some in another, in effecting their escape to Holland. They
had nearly all taken up their residence in Amsterdam. This flourishing
city was so called because it had sprung up around a _dam_ which
had been thrown across the mouth of the _Amstel_ river. It was even
then renowned for its stately buildings, its extended commerce and
its opulence. Ships, from every clime, lined its wharfs; water craft
of every variety and in almost countless numbers floated upon its
canals, which took the place of streets. From many parts of Europe
Protestants had fled to this city, bringing with them their arts,
manufactures and skill in trade. The emigrants from Scrooby were nearly
all farmers. They had no money to purchase lands, and they found it
very difficult to obtain remunerative employment in the crowded streets
of the commercial city. Governor Bradford writes, of his companions in

“They heard a strange and uncouth language and beheld the different
manners and customs of the people with their strange fashions and
attires; all so different from their plain country villages, wherein
they were bred and had so long lived, as it seemed they were come into
a new world. But these were not the things they much looked on, or
which long took up their thoughts. For they had other work in hand and
another kind of war to urge and maintain. For it was not long before
they saw the grim and grisly face of poverty come on them, like an
armed man, with whom they must buckle and encounter and from whom they
could not fly.”

The new-comers did not find perfect harmony of agreement with those who
had preceded them. After a few months tarry at Amsterdam they retired
in a body to Leyden, a beautiful city of seventy thousand inhabitants,
about forty miles distant. In allusion to this movement Governor
Bradford writes:

“For these and some other reasons they removed to Leyden, a fair and
beautiful city, and of a sweet situation; but made more famous by the
university, wherewith it is adorned, in which of late had been so many
learned men. But wanting that traffic by sea which Amsterdam enjoys, it
was not so beneficial for their outward means of living. But being now
established here, they fell to such trades and employments as they best
could; valuing peace and their spiritual comfort above any other riches

“Being thus settled, after many difficulties, they continued many
years in a comfortable condition, enjoying much sweet and delightful
society, and spiritual comfort together in the ways of God, under the
able ministry of Mr. John Robinson and Mr. William Brewster, who was
an assistant unto him, in the place of an Elder, unto which he was now
called and chosen by the church. So they grew in knowledge and other
gifts and graces of God, and lived together in peace and love and
holiness; and many came unto them from diverse parts of England so as
they grew a great congregation.

“And if at any time any differences arose, or offenses broke out, as it
cannot be but some time there will, even among the best of men, they
were even so met with and nipped in the head betimes, or otherwise so
well composed as still love, peace and communion were continued.”

The condition of the Pilgrims in Holland was a very hard one. They were
foreigners; they found the language difficult to acquire. They were
generally poor, and notwithstanding their honesty and frugality, could
obtain but a scanty support. Their sons were strongly tempted to enlist
as soldiers, or to wander away as sailors. The future of their families
seemed very gloomy.

“Lastly,” writes Governor Bradford, “and which was not least, a great
hope and inward zeal they had of laying some good foundation, or at
least to make some way thereunto for propagating and advancing the
kingdom of Christ, in those remote parts of the world,--yea, though
they should be but the stepping stones unto others for the performing
of so great a work.”

“Their numbers assembled at Leyden can only be conjectured. It may,
when at the largest, have counted between two and three hundred
persons. Rev. John Robinson was chosen their pastor, and William
Brewster their assistant pastor.”

Thus gradually the Pilgrims came to the conviction that Holland was
not a desirable place for their permanent home. Notwithstanding the
oppression which they had endured from the British government, they
were very unwilling to lose their native language or the name of
Englishmen. They could not educate their children as they wished, and
it was quite certain their descendants would become absorbed and lost
in the Dutch nation. They therefore began to turn their thoughts to
the New World, where every variety of clime invited them, and where
boundless acres of the most fertile land, unoccupied, seemed to be
waiting for the plough of the husbandman. “Hereby they thought they
might more glorify God, do more good to their country, better provide
for their posterity, and live to be more refreshed by their labors than
ever they could do in Holland.”[1]

Unsuccessful attempts had already been made to establish colonies
in Maine and Virginia. They had also received appalling reports of
the ferocity of the savages. Deeply, solemnly, they pondered the all
important question with many fastings and prayers. Bradford writes that,

“They considered that all great and honorable actions were accompanied
with great difficulties, and must be both enterprised and overcome with
answerable courages. The dangers were great, but not desperate; the
difficulties were many, but not invincible. For, though there were many
of them likely, yet they were not certain. It might be, sundry of the
things feared might never befall; others, by provident care and the
use of good means, might, in a great measure, be prevented. And all of
them, through the help of God, by fortitude and patience, might either
be borne or overcome. Their ends were good and honorable, and therefore
they might expect the blessing of God in their proceeding.”[2]

The Dutch endeavored to induce them to join a feeble colony which they
had established at the mouth of the Hudson river. Sir Walter Raleigh
presented in glowing terms the claims of the valley of the Orinoco, in
South America, which river he had recently explored for the second time.

“We passed,” writes the enthusiastic traveller, “the most beautiful
country that my eyes ever beheld. I never saw a more beautiful country
or more lively prospects. There is no country which yieldeth more
pleasure to its inhabitants. For health, good air, pleasure, riches, I
am resolved that it cannot be equalled by any region either in the east
or west.”[3]

There was a small struggling English colony in Virginia which they
were urged to join. But Bradford writes that they were afraid that
they should be as much persecuted there for their religion as if
they lived in England. After pondering for some time these questions
and perplexities, they decided to establish a distinct colony for
themselves, obtaining their lands from the Virginia Company in England.
A delegation was sent to the king of England, soliciting from him a
grant of freedom of worship. The Virginia Company gladly lent its
co-operation to the emigrants. The king, however, was so unrelenting in
his desire to promote religious uniformity throughout all his domains,
that though the Secretary of State, and others high in authority, urged
him to liberality, he could only be persuaded to give his reluctant
assent to the assurance “that his majesty would connive at them, and
not molest them, provided they carried themselves peaceably.”

The very important question now arose, Who should go. Manifestly all
could not be in a condition to cross a wide and stormy sea, for a new
world, never to return. As only a minority of the whole number could
leave, it was decided that their pastor, Mr. Robinson, should remain
with those left behind, while Elder Brewster should accompany the
emigrants as their spiritual guide. For nearly twelve years they had
resided in Leyden. The hour of their departure was a sad one for all.
Many very grievous embarrassments were encountered, which we have not
space here to record.

A small vessel of but sixty tons burden, called the Speedwell, was
purchased, and was in the harbor at Delft Haven, twelve miles from
Leyden, awaiting the arrival of the pilgrims. Their friends, who
remained, gave them a parting feast. It was truly a religious festival.

[Illustration: _DELFT-HAVEN._]

“The feast,” writes Winslow, “was at the pastor’s house, which was
large. Earnest were the prayers for each other, and mutual the pledges.
With hymns, prayers, and the interchange of words of love and cheer,
a few hours were passed.” The pilgrims, then, about one hundred and
twenty in number, accompanied by many of their Leyden friends, repaired
on board canal boats, and were speedily conveyed to Delft Haven. Here
another parting scene took place. The description of it, as given by
Bradford, in his “Brief Narration,” is worthy of record:

“The night before the embarkation was spent with little sleep by the
most; but with friendly entertainment and Christian discourse, and
other real expressions of true Christian love. The next day, the wind
being fair, they went on board, and their friends with them, where
truly doleful was the sight of that sad and mournful parting. To see
what sighs and sobs did sound among them; what tears did gush from
every eye, and pithy speeches pierced each heart; that sundry of the
Dutch strangers that stood on the quay as spectators, could not refrain
from tears. Yet comfortable and sweet it was to see such lively and
true expressions of dear and unfeigned love. But the tide, which
stays for no man, calling them away that were thus loath to part, their
reverend pastor falling down upon his knees, and they all, with him,
with watery cheeks, commended them, with most fervent prayers to the
Lord and His blessing. And then, with mutual embraces and many tears,
they took their leaves one of another.”


_The Voyage._

  The Departure from Southampton.--Hindrances.--Delay at Dartmouth
      and Plymouth.--Abandonment of the Speedwell.--Sketch of Miles
      Standish.--Death at Sea.--Perils and Threatened Mutiny.--
      Narrow Escape of John Howland.--Arrival at Cape Cod.--Testimony
      of Governor Bradford.--The Civil Contract.--John Carver Chosen
      Governor.--The First Exploring Tour.--The Sabbath.

On the 22d of July, 1620, the Speedwell, with its little band of
Christian heroes, left the haven of Delft for England.

Rev. Mr. Robinson and his friends returned sadly to Leyden. A
prosperous wind rapidly bore the vessel across the channel to the
British coast, and they entered the port of Southampton. Here they
found a party of English emigrants who had chartered a vessel, the
Mayflower, of one hundred and twenty tons. They were awaiting the
arrival of the Speedwell, intending to unite with the Leyden band and
sail in its company for the organization of a Christian colony in the
New World.

Here, disappointed in some of their financial plans, it was found that
they needed four hundred dollars to pay up sundry bills, before they
could sail. To raise this money they were compelled to sell some of
their provisions, including many firkins of butter, which luxury they
thought they could best spare.

At length, all things being ready, both vessels weighed anchor and put
to sea, from Southampton, on the 5th of August. In the two vessels
there were about one hundred and twenty passengers. They had gone
but about one hundred miles when Captain Reynolds, of the Speedwell,
announced that his ship had sprung a leak, and that he did not dare
to continue the voyage without having her examined and repaired. Both
vessels, therefore, put into Dartmouth, losing a fair wind, and time
which, with the rapidly passing summer weather, was invaluable to them.
They were detained for more than a week, searching out the leaks and
mending them. One of their number, Mr. Cushman, wrote from Dartmouth a
doleful letter, full of anticipations of evil.

“We put in here,” he wrote, “to trim our vessel; and I think, as do
others, also, that if we had stayed at sea for three or four hours
more she would have sunk right down. And, though she was twice trimmed
at Southampton, yet now she is open and leaky as a sieve. We lay at
Southampton seven days in fair weather waiting for her; and now we lie
here in as fair a wind as can blow, and so have done these four days,
and are like to do four days more; and by that time the wind will
probably turn, as it did at Southampton. Our victuals will be half
eaten up, I think, before we go from the coast of England. And if our
voyage last long we shall not have a month’s victuals when we come into
the country.

“If I should write to you all things which promiscuously forebode our
ruin, I should overcharge my weak head and grieve your tender heart.
Only this I pray you, prepare for evil tidings of us every day. I see
not in reason how we shall escape even the gaspings of hunger-starved
persons. But God can do much, and His will be done.”

Again the two vessels set sail, probably about the 21st of August.

They had been out but a day or two, having made about three hundred
miles from Land’s End, keeping close company, when the commander of
the Speedwell hung out a signal of distress. Both vessels hove to and
it appeared that the Speedwell had sprung a leak, of so serious a
character that, though diligently plying the pumps, they could scarcely
keep her afloat.

Nothing was to be done but to put back again to Plymouth, the nearest
English port. Here the Speedwell was carefully examined, and pronounced
to be, from general weakness, unseaworthy. The disappointment was very
great. The vessel was abandoned; twenty passengers were left behind,
who could not be received in the already crowded Mayflower.

“It was resolved,” writes Governor Bradford, “to dismiss the Speedwell
and part of the company, and proceed with the other ship. The which,
though it was grievous and caused great discouragement, was put in
execution. So, after they had taken out such provisions as the other
ship could well stow, and concluded what number and what persons to
send back, they made another sad parting, the one ship going back to
London, the other proceeding on her voyage. Those who went back were,
for the most part, those who were willing so to do, either out of
some discontent, or from fear they conceived of the ill success of
the voyage, seeing so many crosses befal, and the time of the year so
far spent. But others, in regard to their weakness and charge of many
young children, were thought least useful, and most unfit to bear the
brunt of this hard adventure; unto which work of God and judgment of
their brethren they were contented to submit. And thus, like Gideon’s
army, this small number was divided, as if the Lord, by this work of
His providence, thought these few too many for the great work He had
to do. But here, by the way, let me show, how afterwards it was found
that the leakiness of this ship was partly caused by being overmasted
and too much pressed with sails; for after she was sold and put into
her old trim, she made many voyages and performed her service very
sufficiently, to the great profit of her owners. But more especially
by the cunning and deceit of the master and his company, who were
hired to remain a whole year in America; and now, fancying dislike,
and fearing want of victuals, they plotted this stratagem to free
themselves, as afterwards was known, and by some of them confessed.”

Mr. Cushman, who wrote the doleful letter, was left behind at his own
request. There was some excuse for his evil forebodings, for he was in
a wretched state of health. He had written,

“Besides the imminent dangers of this voyage, which are no less than
deadly, an infirmity of body hath seized me which will not, in all
likelihood, leave me until death. What to call it I know not. But it
is a bundle of lead, as it were, crushing my heart more and more these
fourteen days; and, though I do the actions of a living man, yet I am
but as dead.”

The whole number of persons who took their departure from Dartmouth, in
the one solitary vessel, the Mayflower, for the New World, amounted to
one hundred and two.

Among these passengers there was a marked man, to whom we have already
alluded, Captain Miles Standish. He was a native of Lancashire,
England, a gentleman born, and the legitimate heir to a large estate.
He had been for some time an officer in one of the British regiments,
which had garrisoned a town in the Netherlands. He was not a church
member, and we know not what induced him to unite with the pilgrims
in their perilous enterprise. Probably love of adventure, sympathy
with them in their cruel persecution, and attachment to some of the
emigrants, were the motives which influenced him. It is certain that he
was very highly esteemed, and very cordially welcomed by the pilgrims.
His military skill might prove of great value to the infant colony.

It is but little that we know of the early life of this remarkable
man. He was born about the year 1584, and was, consequently, at this
time, about thirty-six years of age. The family could boast of a long
and illustrious line of ancestors. In the great controversy between
the Catholics and the Protestants there was a division in the family,
part adhering to the ancient faith, and part accepting the Protestant
religion. Thus there arose, as it were, two families; the Catholics,
who were of “Standish Hall,” and the Protestants, who were of “Duxbury
Hall.” Both of these family seats are situated near the village of
Chorley, in the county of Lancashire. The income of the whole property
was large, being estimated at about five hundred thousand dollars a

It is probable that Miles Standish was the legal heir to all this
property, and that, by gross injustice, he was defrauded of it. A few
years ago the heirs of Miles Standish, in this country, sent out an
agent, Mr. Bromley, to examine into the title. He thoroughly searched
the records of the parish for more than a hundred years, embracing the
period between 1549 and 1652. The result of this investigation was
fully convincing, to the mind of Mr. Bromley, that Miles Standish was
the rightful heir to the property, but that the legal evidence had been
fraudulently destroyed. In reference to this investigation, Mr. Justin
Winsor, in his History of Duxbury, writes:

“The records were all readily deciphered, with the exception of the
years 1584 and 1585; the very dates about which time Standish is
supposed to have been born. The parchment leaf, which contained the
registers of the births of these years was wholly illegible; and their
appearance was such that the conclusion was at once established that it
had been purposely done with pumice stone, or otherwise, to destroy the
legal evidence of the parentage of Standish, and his consequent title
to the estates thereabout. The mutilation of these pages is supposed
to have been accomplished when, about twenty years before, similar
enquiries were made by the family in America.”

Young Miles was educated to the military profession. England was
then in alliance with the Dutch, in one of those wars with which the
continent of Europe has ever been desolated. Miles was sent to the
Netherlands, commissioned as a lieutenant in Queen Elizabeth’s forces.
After peace was declared he remained in the country and attached
himself to the English exiles, who, in Leyden, had found refuge from
ecclesiastical oppression. He joined the first company of Pilgrims for
America, and by his bravery and sagacity, contributed greatly to the
success of their heroic enterprise.

Nothing of special moment occurred during the voyage, which was
tedious, occupying sixty-four days. One event is recorded by Bradford
as a special providence. One of the seamen, a young man of vigorous
health and lusty frame, was a very vile fellow. As he went swaggering
about the decks he lost no opportunity to insult the Pilgrims, ever
treating their religious faith with contempt. When he saw any suffering
from the awful depression of sea sickness, he would openly curse them,
and express the wish that he might have the pleasure of throwing their
bodies overboard, before they should reach the end of the voyage.
The slightest reproof would only cause him to curse and swear more
bitterly. Why the captain of the Mayflower allowed this conduct, we
are not informed. But there are other indications that he was not very
cordially in sympathy with his persecuted, comparatively friendless,
but illustrious passengers. When about half way across the Atlantic,
the dissolute young man was seized with sudden and painful sickness.
Several days of severe suffering passed, as his ribald songs and oaths
were hushed in the languor of approaching death. He died miserably, and
his body, wrapped in a tarred sheet, was cast into the sea. “Thus,”
writes Bradford, “did his curses light upon his own head. And it was an
astonishment to all his fellows, for they noted it to be the just hand
of God upon him.”

Very rough storms were encountered, often with head winds, and
the frail Mayflower was sorely strained and wrenched by gale and
surge. The shrouds were broken, the sails were rent, and seams were
opened, through the oaken ribs, which threatened the engulfing of
the ship in the yawning waves. Almost a mutiny was excited, as some,
deeming the shattered bark incapable of performing the voyage, urged
the abandonment of the expedition, and a return. After a careful
examination, by the captain and the officers, of the injury the
vessel had received, it was decided that the hull of the ship, under
water, was still strong; that, to tighten the seam opened by the main
beam, they had on board an immense iron screw, which the passengers
had brought from Holland, which would raise the beam to its place;
and that, by carefully calking the decks and upper works, and by the
cautious avoidance of spreading too much sail, they might still, in
safety, brave the perils of a stormy sea.

But we are told that many gales arose so fierce, and the sea ran so
high, that for days together they could not spread an inch of canvass,
but, in nautical phrase, were compelled to scud under bare poles. In
one of these terrific storms a young man, John Howland, who ventured
upon deck, was, by the sudden lurching of the vessel and the breaking
of a wave, swept into the sea. He seemed to have been carried down
fathoms deep under the raging billows. But, providentially, he caught
hold of the topsail halyards, which happened to hang overboard. Though
they ran out to full length, still, with a death gripe, he kept his
hold until he was drawn up to the surface of the water, when, with boat
hooks and other means, he was rescued.

The first land they made was Cape Cod. But it had been their intention
to seek a settlement somewhere near the mouth of Hudson river. They
therefore tacked about and stood for the southward. But after sailing
with a fair wind for half a day, they found themselves becalmed in the
midst of dangerous shoals and wild breakers. Alarmed by the perils
which surrounded them in such unknown seas, they resolved to make their
way back and seek the protection of the cape. A gentle breeze rose in
their favor, and swept them away from the shoals before night came on.
The next morning they anchored their storm-shattered vessel in a safe
harbor at the extremity of Cape Cod.

Governor Bradford writes feelingly: “Being thus arrived in a good
harbor, and brought safe to land, they fell upon their knees and
blessed the God of Heaven, who had brought them over the vast and
furious ocean, and delivered them from all the perils and miseries
thereof, again to set their feet on the firm and stable earth, their
proper element.”

He continues in language which we slightly modernize: “But here I
cannot but stay and make a pause, and stand half amazed at this poor
people’s present condition. And so I think will the reader too, when
he well considers the same. Being thus past the vast ocean, and a sea
of troubles before in their preparation, they had now no friends to
welcome them, nor inns to entertain or refresh their weather-beaten
bodies,--no houses, or much less, towns to repair to, to seek for

“It is recorded in Scripture, as a mercy to the apostle and his
shipwrecked company, that the barbarians showed them no small kindness
in refreshing them; but these savage barbarians, when they met with
them, as after will appear, were readier to fill their sides full of
arrows than otherwise. And for the season, it was winter; and they that
know the winters of this country, know them to be sharp and violent,
and subject to cruel and fierce storms, dangerous to travel to known
places, much more to search an unknown coast. Besides, what could they
see but a hideous and desolate wilderness, full of wild beasts and wild
men? And what multitudes there might be of them they knew not. Neither
could they, as it were, go up to the top of Pisgah to view, from this
wilderness, a more goodly country to feed their hopes.

“For, which way soever they turned their eyes, save upward to the
heavens, they could have little solace or content in respect of any
outward objects. For, summer being done, all things stand upon them
with a weather-beaten face, and the whole country, full of woods and
thickets, presented a wild and savage view. If they looked behind them
there was the mighty ocean, which they had passed, and which was now as
a main bar and gulf to separate them from all the civil parts of the
world. If it be said they had a ship to succor them, it is true; but
what heard they daily from the master and company, but that with speed
they should look out a place with their shallop, where they would be at
some near distance; for the season was such that he would not stir from
thence till a safe harbor was discovered by them, where they would be
left, and where he might go without danger; and that victuals consumed
apace, but that he must and he would keep sufficient for the crew and
their return. Yea, it was muttered by some, that if the Pilgrims got
not a place soon, they would turn them and their goods ashore and leave

It was in the morning of Saturday, November 11th, that the Mayflower,
rounding the white sand cliffs of what is now Provincetown, on the
extremity of Cape Cod, entered the bay on the western side of the Cape,
where they cast anchor. Just before entering this harbor the Pilgrims
had drawn up a brief constitution of civil government, upon the basis
of republicanism, by which they mutually bound themselves to be
governed. This was the germ of the American Constitution. John Carver
they had unanimously chosen as their Governor for one year.

That afternoon a party of sixteen men, well armed, under Captain Miles
Standish, was sent on shore to explore the country in their immediate
vicinity. They returned in the early evening with rather a discouraging
report. The land was sandy and poor, but covered with quite a dense
forest of evergreens, dwarf oaks and other deciduous trees. They
could find no fresh water, and met with no signs of inhabitants. The
peninsula there seemed to be a mere sand bank, a tongue of barren land,
about a mile in breadth. The water in the bay, however, abounded with
fish and sea fowl. They brought on board much-needed fuel of the red
cedar, which emitted, in burning, a grateful fragrance.

The next day was Sunday. These devout men, who had left their native
land to encounter all the hardships and perils of the wilderness, that
they might worship God freely, according to their own sense of duty,
kept the day holy to the Lord. They had brought with them, as their
pastor, as we have mentioned, the Rev. William Brewster. He was a
gentleman by birth and in all his habits; a man of fervent piety and of
highly cultivated mind, having graduated at Cambridge University, and
having already filled several responsible stations in church and state.
Mr. Brewster preached from the deck of the Mayflower. In their temple,
whose majestic dome was the overarching skies, their hymns blended
with the moan of the wintry wind, and the dash of the surge on the
rock-bound shore.

 “Amidst the storm they sang,
    And the stars heard, and the sea,
  And the sounding aisles of the dim woods rang,
    To the anthems of the free.”


_Exploring the Coast._

  Repairing the Shallop.--The Second Exploring Tour.--Interesting
      Discoveries.--Return to the Ship.--A Week of Labor.--The
      Third Exploring Tour.--More Corn Found.--Perplexity of the
      Pilgrims.--The Fourth Expedition.--The First Encounter.--
      Heroism of the Pilgrims.--Night of Tempest and Peril.--A Lee
      Shore Found.--Sabbath on the Island.

The next morning, refreshed by the repose of the Sabbath, the Pilgrims
rose early to enter upon the arduous duties before them. The prospect
of gloomy forests, barren sands and wild ocean, was any thing but
cheerful. No alluring spot of grove or meadow or rivulet invited them
to land. Weary as they were of their small and crowded bark, it was
still preferable to any residence which the shore offered them. Still
these heroic men indulged in no despondency. The martyr spirit of Elder
Brewster animated his whole flock. Just before sailing for the New
World, he had said to Sir Edward Sandys:

“It is not with us as with other men, whom small things can discourage,
or small discontents cause to wish themselves home again. We believe
and trust that the Lord is with us, unto whom and whose service we
have given ourselves, and that he will graciously prosper our endeavors
according to the simplicity of our hearts therein.”

The captain of the Mayflower was unwilling to leave the harbor at Cape
Cod and peril his vessel by coasting about in those unknown seas in
search for a suitable location for the colony. The Pilgrims had taken
the precaution to bring with them a large shallop, whose framework,
but partially put together, was stowed away in the hold of the vessel.
They now got out these pieces, and their carpenter commenced vigorously
the work of preparing the boat for service. It would require some
days to put the shallop in order for a tour of exploration along the
shore. There were twenty-eight females among the emigrants. Eighteen of
these were married women, accompanying their husbands. These females,
attended by a strong guard of armed men, were landed Monday morning to
wash the soiled clothes which had accumulated through the long voyage.
The weather was excessively cold, and the water so shoal that the boat
could not come within several rods of the shore. The men were compelled
to wade through the water, carrying the women in their arms; thus with
many of them was laid the foundation of serious and fatal sickness.

In the meantime, while these labors were being performed, Captain
Miles Standish, on Wednesday morning, the 15th of November, set
out with a party of fifteen men, well armed and provisioned, for a
more extended tour of exploration. It was deemed rather a hazardous
enterprise, as they knew not but that the woods were filled with
savages, lying in ambush. The Mayflower was anchored, it is supposed,
about a furlong from the end of what is now called Long Point, and at
that place the men were probably set on shore.

Mourt writes: “The willingness of the persons was liked, but the thing
itself, in regard to the danger, was rather permitted than approved.
And so, with cautious directions and instructions, sixteen men were set
out, with every man his musket, sword and corslet, under the conduct of
Captain Miles Standish, unto whom was adjoined, for counsel and advice,
William Bradford, Stephen Hopkins and Edward Tilley.”

The exploring party followed along the coast for the distance of about
a mile, when they saw six or seven Indians, with a dog, approaching
them. As soon as the savages caught sight of the party of white men,
they seemed to be much terrified, and fled precipitately into the
woods. The Pilgrims hotly pursued, hoping to open with them amicable
relations. The Indians, seeing themselves thus followed, turned again
from the woods to the sea shore, where, upon the beach, their flight
would be unobstructed by the bushes and branches, which impeded their
flight in the forest. Their pursuers kept close after them, guided by
the tracks of their feet in the sand.

Night now came on. The Pilgrims constructed a rude camp, with
protecting ramparts of logs, built a rousing camp fire, for the night
was cold as well as dark, and having established faithful sentinels,
slept quietly until morning. The place of the bivouac, they supposed
to be about ten miles from the vessel. The next morning, Thursday,
November 16th, at the earliest dawn, the Pilgrims resumed their tour.
They followed the track of the Indians from the shore into the woods.
“We marched through boughs and bushes and under hills and valleys,
which tore our very armor in pieces, and yet could meet with none of
them, nor their houses, nor find any fresh water, which we greatly
desired and stood in need of.”

About ten o’clock in the morning they entered a deep valley, where they
perceived tracks of deer, and found, to their great joy, a spring,
bubbling cool and fresh from its mossy bed. Having refreshed themselves
with a beverage which they pronounced to be superior to any wine or
beer which they had ever drank, they pressed on their way, pushing
directly south, and soon found themselves again upon the sea shore,
where they built a large fire, that its smoke, ascending through the
silent air, might inform those on board the ship of the point which
they had reached.

Then, continuing their journey, they soon entered another valley, where
they found a fine clear pond of fresh water. This was undoubtedly the
little lake which now gives name to the Pond Village in Truro. As
they journeyed on they came to a plain of cleared land, consisting of
about fifty acres, where the plough could be driven almost without
obstruction. There were many indications that this land had formerly
been planted with corn. Turning again into the interior, they came
to several singular looking mounds, covered with old mats. Digging
into one of these, they found decaying bows and arrows, and other
indications that they were Indian graves. Reverently they replaced the
weapons and again covered up the grave, as they would not have the
Indians think that they would violate their sepulchres.

Further on they found an immense store of strawberries, large and
very delicious. This seems very remarkable at that season of the
year. Roger Williams writes: “This berry is the wonder of all fruits,
growing naturally in those parts. In some places, where the natives
have planted, I have many times seen as many as would fill a good ship
within a few miles compass.” They found, also, abundance of walnuts
and grape vines, with some very good grapes. Coming upon a deserted
dwelling, they found, to their astonishment, a large iron kettle, which
must have been taken from some ship, wrecked upon the coast. Upon
examining the remains of the hut more carefully, they became satisfied
that it must have been erected by some sailors from Europe, who
probably had been cast away upon the coast.

Here they came upon another mound, newly made, so different from the
others that they were induced to examine it. “In it we found a little
old basket, full of fair Indian corn, and digged further and found
a fine, great new basket, full of very fair corn of this year, with
some six and thirty goodly ears of corn, some yellow and some red,
and others mixed with blue, which was a very goodly sight. The basket
was round and narrow at the top. It held about three or four bushels,
which was as much as two of us could lift from the ground, and was very
handsomely and cunningly made.”[4]

The Pilgrims had never seen corn before. Though they knew from its
appearance that it must constitute an important article of food,
they could have had no conception of the infinite value those golden
kernels would contribute to the millions of inhabitants destined to
throng this broad continent. These holes in the earth were the Indian
barns. They were constructed so as to hold about a hogshead each. The
corn having been husked and thoroughly dried in the sun, was placed in
baskets surrounded with mats, which were woven or braided with flags.
As the provisions of the Pilgrims were nearly expended, from their
unexpectedly long voyage, the sight of the golden ears of corn was more
grateful to them than so many doubloons would have been.

“We were in suspense,” writes one of these explorers, “what to do with
it and the kettle. At length, after much consultation, we concluded to
take the kettle and as much of the corn as we could carry away with us.
And when our shallop came, if we could find any of the people, and come
to parley with them, we would give them the kettle again, and satisfy
them for their corn.”

About eight months after this, as we shall have occasion hereafter to
mention, they met the Indians and paid them to their “full content.”
The loose corn they put in the kettle, for two of the men to carry away
on a staff. They also filled their pockets with the corn. The remainder
they carefully buried again, “for we were so laden with armor that we
could carry no more.” It is worthy of note that the Pilgrims were cased
in armor. One of the grandsons of Miles Standish is said to have in his
possession the coat of mail which his illustrious ancestor wore upon
this occasion. The Pilgrim Society of Plymouth claims also to have the
identical sword blade used by Miles Standish.

Not far from this place they found the remains of an old fort, which
had doubtless been built by the same persons who erected the hut and
owned the kettle. This was near a spot which they at first supposed
to be a river, but which proved to be an arm of the sea, and which
was doubtless the entrance of what is now called Parmet River. They
found here a high cliff of sand, since called Old Tom’s Hill, after an
Indian chief who had his wigwam upon its summit. They were, at this
spot, about nine miles from Cape Cod harbor. Two birch bark canoes had
been left here by the Indians, one on each bank of the creek. As the
adventurers had received directions not to be absent more than two
days, they had no time for extensive explorations. Returning to the
fresh water pond, they established their rendezvous for the night.
Building an immense fire, with the barricade to the windward, and
establishing three sentinels, each man to take his turn as it came,
they sought such sleep as could be found in a drenching rain, for the
night proved dark and stormy.

In the morning they set out on their return home, and lost their
way. As they wandered along they entered a well-trodden deer path
in the entangled forest. Here they came upon a singular contrivance,
apparently some sort of a trap, which they were carefully examining,
when Mr. Bradford, subsequently Governor, found himself suddenly caught
by the leg and snapped up into the air. As he experienced no serious
injury, the incident afforded only occasion for merriment. It was a
deer trap, ingeniously constructed by bending a strong sapling to the
earth, with a rope and noose concealed under leaves covered with acorns.

“It was a very pretty device,” writes Mourt, “made with a rope of their
own making, having a noose as artificially made as any roper in England
can make.” These traps were so strong that a horse would be tossed
up if he were caught in one of them. “An English mare,” writes Wood,
“having strayed from her owner, and grown wild by her long sojourning
in the woods, ranging up and down with the wild crew, stumbled into one
of these traps, which stopped her speed, hanging her, like Mahomet’s
coffin, betwixt earth and heaven.”

Toiling along through the wilderness, they saw three bucks and a flock
of partridges, but could not get a shot at them. “As we came along by
the creek we saw great flocks of wild geese and ducks, but they were
very fearful of us, so we marched some while in the woods, some while
on the sands, and other while in the water up to the knees, till at
length we came near the ship, when we shot off our pieces, and the
long boat came to fetch us.”[5] Those familiar with the locality can
trace their route as they passed round the head of East Harbor Creek,
and went down on the north side of it. They then waded through Stout’s
Creek, near Gull Hill, and passed on to the end of Long Point, near
which the ship was anchored.

It was Friday afternoon, November 17th, when the expedition returned,
with rent clothes and blistered feet, and with a discouraging report;
for they had found no place suitable for the location of their colony.

Another Sunday came, and this little band of exiles was again
assembled, on the deck of the Mayflower, to attend to their accustomed
worship. The whole of the ensuing week was employed in refitting the
shallop, which required the labor of seventeen days, and in making
preparation for another and more extensive tour along the coast.

On Monday of the next week, the 27th of November, twenty-four of the
colonists and ten of the seamen, in the shallop, all under command of
Captain Jones, of the Mayflower, again set out in search of a spot
where they might commence their lonely settlement in the wilderness.
It was a dreary winter’s day, with clouds, a rough sea, freezing
winds and flurries of rain and sleet. The sand hills, whitened with
snow, swept by the wind and covered with a stunted growth of oaks and
pines, presented nothing alluring to the eye. As the day wore away
and the storm increased in violence, they ran in towards the shore
for security. Here the shallop cast anchor, under the lee of the sand
hills, in comparatively smooth water. The crew passed the night in
the boat, which probably afforded shelter for a few persons. A party
landed, and following along the beach about six miles, encamped, with a
glowing fire at their feet.

The next morning, the storm still continuing, the shallop reached them
about eleven o’clock, and taking them on board, continued their voyage
until they arrived at Pamet Creek, which the previous expedition had
visited. Here they found a sheltered cove, which they called Cold
Harbor. It afforded a safe refuge for boats, but was not a suitable
harbor for ships, as it had a depth of but twelve feet of water at
flood tide. The creek here separates into two streams, running back
about three and a half miles into the country, and separated by the
high cliff of which we have spoken, called Tom’s Hill.

A party landed at the foot of the cliff and marched into the interior,
between the streams, four or five miles. The country was broken with
steep hills and deep valleys, and there was six inches of snow upon
the ground. As night darkened over them they entered a small grove of
pine trees, where they built their camp and kindled their fire, and
established their sentinels for the night. They supped luxuriously upon
three fat geese and six ducks, which they had shot by the way.

It was their intention in the morning to follow up this creek to its
head, supposing that they should there find emptying into it a river of
fresh water. But in talking the matter over, it seemed to the majority
that the region was very undesirable. It was rough, hilly, with poor
soil, and a harbor fit only for boats. In the morning, consequently,
the shallop returned to its anchorage at the mouth of the creek, while
the party on land crossed over to the other stream to get the rest of
the corn which they had left behind. Here they found one of the canoes,
of which we have previously spoken, which was sufficiently capacious
to carry seven or eight over at a time. Here they found several other
depositories of corn, so that they obtained seven or eight bushels.

“And sure it was God’s good providence,” writes Mourt, “that we found
this corn, for else we know not how we should have done; for we knew
not how we should find or meet with any of the Indians, except it
be to do us a mischief. Also we had never, in all likelihood, seen a
grain of it if we had not made our first journey; for the ground was
now covered with snow, and so hard frozen that we were fain, with our
cutlasses and short swords, to hew and carve the ground a foot deep,
and then wrest it up with levers, for we had forgot to bring other

Captain Jones, satisfied that there was no place here for the location
of the colony, was quite discouraged and wished to return to the
ship. Several others were quite sick from exposure and fatigue. They
therefore returned to the shallop, while eighteen remained to continue
their exploration until the next day, when the shallop was to come to
take them. Several Indian trails were discovered, leading in various
directions into the woods. One of these they followed five or six
miles without finding any signs of inhabitants. Returning by another
route, they came to a plain which had been cultivated, where they
found several Indian graves, and among them manifestly the grave of a
white man. In it they found fine yellow hair, some embalming powder, a
knife, a pack-needle, and two or three iron instruments, bound up in a
sailor’s canvas coat. It was supposed that the Indians had thus buried
the man to honor him.

While thus ranging about, some of them came upon two deserted Indian
huts. They were made round, like an arbor, of long saplings, each
end being stuck into the ground. The door was about three feet high,
protected by a mat. The chimney was a hole in the top. In the centre
of them, one could easily stand upright. The fire was built in the
centre, around which the inmates slept on mats. The sides and roof were
warmly sheathed, as a protection from wind and rain, with thick mats. A
few very mean articles of household furniture were found within, such
as bowls, trays and earthen pots. There were also quite a variety of
baskets, some of them quite curiously wrought. Some of these baskets
were filled with parched acorns, which it subsequently appeared they
often used instead of corn.

During the day the shallop arrived. The latter part of the afternoon
they hastened on board, with their treasures, and, it is supposed,
reached the Mayflower that evening. In Mourt’s narrative it is
recorded: “We intended to have brought some beads and other things, to
have left in the houses in sign of peace, and that we meant to truck
with them. But it was not done, by means of our hasty coming away from
Cape Cod.”

The question was then very earnestly and anxiously discussed, whether
they should decide upon Cold Harbor for their settlement, or send out
another expedition on an exploring tour. Those who were in favor of
Cold Harbor for their settlement, wished to locate their dwellings
upon the bluff, at the entrance of Pamet River, now called Old Tom’s
Hill. The arguments they urged were, that there was there a convenient
harbor for boats; convenient corn land ready to their hands; that Cape
Cod would be a good place for fishing, as they daily saw great whales
swimming about; that the place was healthy and defensible, and most
important of all, that the heart of winter had come, and that they
could not embark on more exploring tours without danger of losing both
boat and men. The question, however, was settled in the negative, in
view of the shallowness of the harbor, the barrenness of the land, and
the inadequate supply of fresh water.

But very little was then known of Massachusetts Bay. But the second
mate of the ship, Robert Coppin, had been in that region before. He
said that upon the other side of the Bay, at a distance of about
twenty-five miles, in a direct line west from Cape Cod, was a large
navigable river with a good harbor. It was decided immediately to fit
out another expedition to explore the whole coast of Massachusetts Bay,
as far as the mouth of that fabulous river, but not to go beyond that
point. A party of ten picked men, among whom were Governor Carver and
William Bradford, set out in the shallop in the afternoon of the 6th
of December, upon this all-important expedition, in which it seemed
absolutely necessary that they should select some spot on which to
establish their colony. They were well armed and provisioned, and it
was certain that they would leave nothing untried which human energy
could accomplish. It was a perilous enterprise in the dead of winter,
in a comparatively open boat upon a storm-swept sea.

A cold wind ploughed the bay, raising such waves that many of the
voyagers were deathly sick. It was late in the afternoon before they
succeeded in clearing the harbor. The severity of the winter weather
was such that the spray, dashing over them, was immediately frozen,
covering them with coats of ice. They ran down the coast in a southerly
direction, about twenty miles, when, doubling a point of land, they
entered a small shallow cove, where they discovered twelve Indians
on the beach, cutting up a grampus. As they turned their bow towards
the land the Indians fled, and soon disappeared in the stunted growth
behind the sand hills. The water in the little bay was so shallow that
they found it difficult to approach the shore. At last they effected
a landing about three miles from the point where they had seen the
Indians, but even then they had to wade several yards through the water
up to their knees. As the weather was intensely cold, this caused much

It was quite dark before they reached the land. With considerable
difficulty they constructed a barricade of logs, to shelter them from
the wind, and also to protect them from the arrows of the natives,
should they be attacked. Sentinels were stationed to keep a vigilant
guard, a roaring fire was built, and our weary exiles, wrapped in their
cloaks and with their feet to the fire, soon forgot, for a few hours,
all their troubles in the oblivion of sleep. During the night the
sentinels could see, at the distance of but a few miles, the gleam of
the camp fire of the Indians.

In the morning the company divided, a part to follow along the shore
through the woods to see if they could find any suitable place for
their settlement, while the rest sailed along slowly in the boat,
noticing the depth of water and watching for harbors. Thus the day
passed without any successful results. Those on the shore followed an
Indian trail for some distance into the woods. They came to a large
burying place, surrounded with a palisade and quite thickly filled
with graves. As the sun of the short winter’s day was sinking, and
the shades of another night were coming on, the boat put into a small
creek, where its inmates were soon joined by the party from the woods.
They met joyfully, for they had not seen one another since the morning,
and some anxiety was felt for the safety of those upon the shore.

Governor Bradford, who was of the party, says that they made a
barricade, as they were accustomed to do every night, of logs, stakes
and thick pine boughs, the height of a man, leaving it open to the
leeward, partly to shelter it from the cold and winds, making their
fire in the middle and lying round about it, and partly to defend them
from any assaults of the savages, if they should attack them. So, being
very weary, they betook themselves to rest.

“But about midnight they heard a hideous and great cry, and their
sentinel called ‘arm! arm!’ So they bestirred themselves and stood to
their arms and shot off a couple of muskets, and then the noise ceased.
They concluded that it was a company of wolves, or such like wild
beasts; for one of the seamen told them that he had often heard such a
noise in Newfoundland. So they rested till about five of the clock in
the morning, for the tide and their purpose to go from thence made them
bestirring betimes.

“After prayer they prepared for breakfast, and it being day-dawning,
it was thought best to be carrying things down to the boat. But some
said that it was not best to carry the arms down; others said they
would be the readier, for they had wrapped them up in their coats,
from the dew. But some three or four would not carry theirs until they
went themselves; yet, as it fell out, those who took their arms to
the boat, the water not being high enough for the boat to come to the
shore, they laid them down upon the bank and came back to breakfast.

“But presently, all on the sudden, they heard a great and strange cry,
which they knew to be the same voices which they heard in the night,
though they varied their notes; and one of their company being abroad,
came running in and cried, ‘Indians! Indians!’ Immediately a shower of
arrows fell upon the encampment. Then men ran with all speed to recover
their arms, as by the good providence of God they succeeded in doing.

“In the mean time, Captain Miles Standish, having a snaphance[6] ready,
made a shot, and, after him, another. After they two had shot, other
two were ready; but Captain Standish wished us not to shoot till we
could take aim, for he knew not what need we should have. Then there
were four only of us which had their arms there ready, and stood before
the open side of our barricade which was first assaulted. They thought
it best to defend it lest the enemy should take it and our stuff, and
so have the more vantage against us.”

From the hideous yells of the Indians it seemed as though the woods
were full of them. There might be ten or twenty Indians to one white
man. It was greatly to be feared that they might, by a sudden rush,
seize the shallop, and thus cut off all possibility of retreat. Captain
Standish, therefore, immediately divided his little army of ten men,
leaving five to defend the barricade and five to protect the boat. In
the midst of the terrific turmoil and storm of Indian missiles, the two
divisions, separated but by a distance of a few yards, cheered each
other by encouraging words. Most of the guns were matchlocks. Those by
the shallop called for a firebrand to light their matches. One seized
from the fire a burning log and carried it to them. The Indians seemed
to understand the act, for they redoubled the fury of their yells.

The thick winter garments of the Pilgrims and their coats of mail
effectually protected a large portion of their bodies from the arrows
of the natives. The arrows as, unlike bullets they could be seen in
their flight, could also be dodged. There was one Indian, of gigantic
stature, apparently more brave than the rest, who seemed to be the
leader of the band. He was in advance of all the other Indians,
and, standing behind a large tree, within half musket shot of the
encampment, let fly his arrows with wonderful strength and accuracy of
aim, while his voice, rising above the din of the conflict, animated
them to courage and exertion. Three arrows which he shot were avoided
by stooping. Three musket shots, which were aimed at him, struck the
tree, causing the bark and splinters to fly about his ears, but he was
unharmed. Captain Standish devoted his special attention to this chief.
Watching his opportunity, when the arm of the savage was exposed, in
the attempt to throw another shaft, he succeeded in striking it with
a bullet. The shattered arm dropped helpless.[7] The savage gazed for
a moment in apparent bewilderment and dismay, upon the mangled and
bleeding limb, and then, as if conscious that he had fought his last
battle, uttered a peculiar and distressing cry, which was probably the
signal for retreat, and dodging from tree to tree, disappeared.

His warriors followed his example, and were speedily lost in the
solitude and silence of the forest. Their flight was so instantaneous
into the glooms which surrounded them, that scarcely one moment elapsed
ere not an Indian was to be seen, and the demoniac clamor of war gave
place to the sacred quietude of the untenanted wilderness. Captain
Standish led his heroic little band, driving before them they knew not
how many hundreds of Indians, nearly a quarter of a mile. Then they
shot off two muskets and gave three loud cheers, “that they might
see,” Governor Bradford writes, “that we were not afraid of them, nor
discouraged. Then the English, who more thirsted for their conversion
than their destruction, returned to their boat without receiving any

The first act of these devout men, upon returning to their encampment,
was to give thanks to God for their great deliverance. There was a
sublimity in this _Te Deum_, from the lips of these exiles, as in
the twilight of the wintry morning, exposed to wind and rain, they
bowed reverently around their camp fire, which never could have been
surpassed by peals from choir and organ, resounding through the groined
arches of the cathedrals of Saint Peter, Notre Dame or Saint Paul.

The escape of the Pilgrims, unharmed, from this shower of missiles,
was indeed wonderful. The arrows of the Indians were thrown with great
force, and being pointed with flint and bone, would, when hitting
fairly, pierce the thickest clothing. Some of them were barbed with
brass, probably obtained from some fisherman’s vessel. When striking
any unprotected portion of the body, they would inflict a very
dangerous and painful wound. But no one was hurt. Some overcoats which
were hung up in the barricade were pierced through and through. Arrows
were sticking in the logs, and many were found beneath the leaves.
They collected quite a number of them, and sent them back to England as

It is supposed that the scene of this conflict, was at what is now
called Great Meadow Creek, in Eastham, about a mile northeast from Rock
Harbor. The Pilgrims named the place The First Encounter.

It was indeed a gloomy morning of clouds and rain and chill wind which
now opened before these stout-hearted wanderers. The surf dashed
sullenly upon the shore. The gale, sweeping the ocean, and moaning
through the sombre firs and pines, drove the sheeted mist, like
spectral apparitions of ill omen, over the land and the sea. As the
Pilgrims re-embarked the rain changed to sleet. A day of suffering and
of great peril was manifestly before them. The gale rapidly increased
in violence. The billows dashed so furiously upon the beach there was
no possibility of again landing unless they should find some sheltered
cove. The waves frequently broke into the boat. Their garments were
drenched, and clothing and ropes were soon coated with ice. Anxiously,
hour after hour, as they were buffeted by the storm, they searched the
dim shore hoping to find some bay or river in which they could take

The short winter’s day was soon drawing to a close. Night was at
hand,--night long, dark and stormy, in an unknown sea. They were
numbed and nearly frozen with the cold. To many of them it seemed not
improbable that before the morning they would all find a grave in the
ocean. As twilight was darkening into night, a huge billow, chasing
them with gigantic speed, broke into the boat, nearly filling it with
water, at the same time unshipping and sweeping away their rudder. They
immediately got out two oars, and with exceeding difficulty succeeded
in steering their tempest-tossed bark. To add to their calamities,
and apparently to take from them their last gleam of hope, just then
a sudden flaw of wind snapped their mast into three pieces, dashing
their sail into the foaming sea, and they were left at the mercy of the

Their pilot, who had been upon the coast before, and who had thus far
cheered them with the assurance that there was a harbor at hand, now
lost all presence of mind, and throwing up his arms, exclaimed, “The
Lord have mercy upon us. I was never in this place before. All that we
can do is to run the boat ashore through the breakers.” It was insane
counsel which, being followed, involved almost certain death.

Some one of their number, was it their gallant leader Miles Standish,
remonstrated, shouting out in the darkness, “If ye be men, seize your
oars or we are all cast away.” They did so, and, with lusty arms, on
a flood tide, still guided their boat along the shore, which was dimly
seen as the breakers dashed high over sand and rock. At last they
discerned land directly before them. Whether it were an island or a
promontory they knew not. By great exertions they succeeded--though it
was very dark and the rain fell in torrents--in gaining the lee of the
land. Here they cast anchor in comparatively still water. But they were
afraid to leave the boat. The experience of the past night had taught
them that the woods might be full of savages.

Their sufferings however from the cold, the wind and the rain, became
unendurable. A few of their number, feeling that they should certainly
perish in the open boat, ventured ashore, where after much difficulty
they succeeded in building a fire. Though its blaze illumining the
forest, might be a beacon to point them out to their savage foes, they
piled upon it branches and logs and, forgetting their danger, rejoiced
in the cheerful flame and the warmth. Those in the boat could not long
resist the aspect of comfort which the fire presented. They soon also
landed, and with their axes, speedily constructed a camp to shelter
them from the rain, and a rampart of logs, behind which, with their
guns, they could protect themselves from a large number of natives
armed only with bows and javelins.

Thus ere long they found themselves in what might be deemed, under the
circumstances, comfortable quarters. During the night the clouds were
dispersed. The morning dawned, serene and bright, but cold. It was
the morning of the Sabbath. And these remarkable men, notwithstanding
the importance of improving every moment of time, decided, apparently
without hesitation or thought of doing otherwise, to remain quietly in
their encampment in the religious observance of the Lord’s day. Some
may say that this was fanaticism; that a more enlightened judgment
would have taught them that the Sabbath was made for man, and not man
for the Sabbath; and that situated as they then were, it was a work of
necessity and mercy to prosecute their tour without delay.

But these men believed it to be their duty to sanctify the Sabbath by
resting from all but necessary labor. Thus believing, their decision
could not but be pleasing in the sight of God. Captain Miles Standish,
as we have mentioned, was the leader of this expedition. The decision
must have been consequently in accordance with his views.

Governor Bradford, describing this painful and perilous adventure,
writes: “And though it was very dark and rained sore, yet in the end
they got under the lee of a small island and remained there all night
in safety. But they knew not this to be an island till morning, but
were divided in their minds. Some would keep the boat for fear they
might be among the Indians. Others were so weak and cold, they could
not endure, but got ashore and with much ado got a fire, all things
being so wet, and the rest were glad to come to them; for after
midnight the wind shifted to the northwest and it froze hard.

“But though this had been a day and night of much trouble and danger
unto them, yet God gave them a morning of comfort and refreshing, as He
usually does to His children; for the next day was a fair, sunshining
day, and they found themselves to be on an island, secure from the
Indians, where they might dry their stuff, fix their pieces and rest
themselves, and give God thanks for his mercies in their manifold
deliverances. And this being the last day of the week they prepared to
keep the Sabbath.”

In their frail camp they spent the sacred hours of the Lord’s day, in
thankgivings and supplications and in hymning the praises of God. They
named this spot, where they had found brief refuge from the storm,
Clark’s Island, in honor of the captain of the Mayflower.


_The Landing._

  The Voyage Resumed.--Enter an Unknown Harbor.--Aspect of the
      Land.--Choose it for their Settlement.--The Mayflower Enters
      the Harbor.--Sabbath on Shipboard.--Exploring the Region.--
      The Storm and Exposure.--The Landing.--View from the Hill.--
      Arduous Labors.--The Alarm.--Arrangement of the Village.--
      The Evident Hostility of the Indians.--Gloomy Prospects.--
      Expedition of Captain Standish.--Billington’s Sea.--Lost in the
      Woods.--Adventures of the Lost Men.--The Alarm of Fire.

The Pilgrims, having passed the Sabbath in rest and devotion upon
the island, early the next morning repaired their shattered boat and
spreading their sails again to the wintry winds continued their tour.
Soon a large bay opened before them, partially protected by a long sand
bar from the gales and the billows of the ocean. It was but a poor
harbor at the best. The low and dreary sand bar broke the fury of the
waves, but afforded no protection against the fierce gales which swept
the seas.

Cautiously our adventurers sailed around the point of sand, every few
moments dropping the lead that they might find a channel of sufficient
depth of water to allow their vessel to enter the bay. Having found
this passage, they steered for the shore and landed. They found
here one or two streams of pure water, several corn fields which
had evidently, in former times been cultivated by the Indians, in
their rude style of agriculture, but which, for some reason they had
abandoned. Eagerly they looked for some navigable river, but could
find none. The soil, though not so rich as they could wish, seemed
promising. The landscape was pleasingly diversified with hills and
valleys, while the forest, in its mysterious gloom, spread far away to
unknown regions in the west.

The location was by no means such as they had hoped to find. But it was
far superior to any other which had as yet presented itself. As winter
was approaching and time pressed they decided to look no further. A
party of them, well armed, marched along the shore for a distance of
eight miles, in search of a suitable spot for their village. They
selected a spot, but saw no natives, no wigwams, and no signs that the
region had recently been inhabited.

Having, in their own minds, settled the important question they spread
their sails and, instead of returning by the long circuit of the shore,
which they had traversed, pushed boldly across the bay, and in a few
hours reached the ship with their report. Without loss of time the
Mayflower weighed anchor on the 15th of December, and crossing the bay
anchored on the 16th in the shallow water of the harbor about a mile
and a half from the shore. The next day was the Sabbath. Strong as was
the temptation to land, they all remained on board the vessel, and
their hymns of thankfulness blended with the moan of the wintry gale as
it swept through the icy shrouds.

Early Monday morning Miles Standish set out with a small but well armed
party to explore that part of the country which immediately surrounded
the harbor, to decide upon the spot where they should rear their
little village of log huts. They traversed the coast for a distance
of several miles. Several brooks of crystal water were found, but to
their disappointment no navigable river rolling down its flood from the
unknown interior. They scarcely knew whether to be glad or sorry that
they found no Indians and no indications that the Indians then occupied
the region. Several quite extended fields were found, where the heavily
timbered forest had disappeared and where it was evident that the
Indians, in former years, had raised their harvests of corn. At night
the party returned to the ship not having fixed upon any spot for their

The next day, the 19th, another exploring party set out moving in an
opposite direction. They divided into two companies, one to sail along
the coast in the shallop, hoping to find the mouth of some large river.
The other party landed and marched along the shore, examining the lay
of the land, the streams, the soil, and the timber of the forests. At
night they returned to the ship, still somewhat undecided. They had
however found one spot where there was a small stream of very clear,
sweet water, which seemed to be well stocked with fish, and a high
hill, a little back from the shore, which could be easily fortified,
and which commanded a very extensive view of the surrounding country
and the ocean. “It had clay, sand and shells,” writes Bradford, “for
bricks, mortar and pottery, and stone for wells and chimneys. The sea
and beach promised abundance of fish and fowl, and four or five small
running brooks brought a supply of very sweet, fresh water.”

The next morning, after earnest and united prayer for divine guidance,
a still larger party of twenty was sent on shore, more carefully to
examine the spot which had been suggested for their village. Though it
was not all they could desire, it still presented many attractions. It
was a cold December day. They climbed the hill, and gazed with pleasure
upon a prospect which was sublime and beautiful even on that bleak
and windy day, when the boughs of the trees were naked and when the
withered leaves were borne like snow flakes on the wintry air. They
tried to imagine its loveliness in the luxuriance and bloom of a June

While they stood upon the hill, the clouds, which all the morning had
been darkening the sky, began to increase in density and gather in
blackness. The wind rose to a gale, and the windows of heaven seemed
to be opened, as the rain fell upon them in torrents. All unsheltered
they found themselves exposed to the fury of a New England northeast
storm. Huge billows from the ocean swept the poorly protected harbor
and broke in such surges upon the beach that it was impossible for
them to return to the ship. They were totally unprepared for an
emergency so unexpected. Night came, a long, dark, cold, stormy night.
They sought shelter in the forest, constructed a rude camp which but
poorly sheltered them from wind and rain, and building a large fire,
found such comfort as they could in the imperfect warmth which it
afforded. All the night of Wednesday and all day Thursday the northeast
storm raged with fury unabated. Towards the evening of Thursday the
21st there was a lull in the tempest, so that the weary adventurers
succeeded in working their way back to the ship.

The next day was the ever-memorable Friday, December 22d. A wintry
storm, with its angry billows, still swept the bay. The day opened
upon the Pilgrims cold, cloudy and dreary. The long and anxiously
looked for hour had now come, when the Mayflower, the only material
tie which bound them to the Old World, was to be abandoned, and these
bold men were to be left three thousand miles from their native shores,
to struggle with all the known and unknown perils and hardships of
the wilderness. Familiar as are the graphic words of Mrs. Hemans, the
first verse of her memorable hymn so truthfully describes the scene
which that morning was presented to the Pilgrims, as to be worthy of
transcript here:

 “The breaking waves dashed high
    On a stern and rock-bound coast,
  And the woods against a stormy sky,
    Their giant branches toss’d.”

At an early hour all the passengers of the Mayflower were assembled
upon the deck of their little ship, bowed down by emotions not easily
described. Men, women and children, all were there, oppressed by
thoughts too deep for utterance. Elder Brewster conducted their morning
devotions as the wintry gale breathed forth its requiem through the icy
shrouds. Sublime as was the hour, not one of those men of martyr spirit
could have had any true conception of its grandeur. They could not have
been conscious that then and there they were laying the foundations of
one of the mightiest empires upon which the sun has ever shone.

Their devotions being ended, boat load after boat load left the ship
which, in consequence of the shallowness of the water, was anchored at
the distance of a mile and a half from the shore. There was a large
and jagged rock projecting into the sea, upon which a landing was with
difficulty effected. Those who first were placed upon shore marked out
a street from their point of landing directly westward to the hill,
upon each side of which street their log huts were to be reared.

One of the first things, however, to be done, was to erect a log
store-house, about twenty feet square, where they could deposit their
effects, which were immediately to be landed from the ship, and where
the women and the children could find a temporary shelter from wind and

In the old style of computing time, the day of their landing was the
11th of December. For many years the 22d day of September, new style,
has been observed as “Forefather’s Day.” It is said, however, that
December 11th, O. S., corresponds with December 21st, N. S. But when
the anniversary was instituted at Plymouth, in 1769, _eleven_ days were
added for difference of style, instead of _ten_, the true difference.

The common house, to which we have alluded, it is supposed was erected
on the south side of what is now called Leyden street, near the
declivity of the hill. All hands working energetically, this building
was speedily put up, with a thatched roof.

Though the situation for their colony was not everything they could
desire, yet, as they prosecuted their labors, they became better and
better satisfied with the choice which they had made. One of their
number wrote,

“There are here cleared lands, delicate springs, and a sweet brook
running under the hill side, with fish in their season, where we may
harbor our shallops and boats. On the further side is much corn ground.
There is a high hill on which to plant our ordnance. Thence we may see
into the bay, and far out at sea, and have a glimpse of the distant
cape. Our greatest labor will be the bringing of wood. What people
inhabit here we know not, as we have yet seen none.”

All the day of Saturday every able-bodied man of the Pilgrims was on
the shore laboring with all possible diligence, felling trees, hewing
them, and dragging them with their own hands to the building lots, for
they had no horses or oxen. The women also were diligently at work
cooking at camp fires and helping to stow away their goods as they were
brought on shore.

The whole company was divided into nineteen families, each family
to build its own log hut. For protection against the Indians it was
needful that these huts should be clustered near together. The captain
of the Mayflower brought all the energies of his crew into requisition
in transporting the luggage to the shore, for his provisions were fast
disappearing, and he was exceedingly anxious to set out on his return.
The distance of the ship from the land caused much time to be lost
in going and coming. For several days a portion of the Pilgrim band
remained to lodge in the ship, while others were on the shore. The
labors of all were rendered painful and much impeded by cold and stormy
weather. Often the bay, swept by the wintry gale, was so rough that no
boat could leave the ship, and there could be no communication between
the two parties.

Sunday was again with them all a day of rest and devotion, though they
were divided, some being still on board the ship, while others were in
their frail shelters on the land. Those on shore assembled, for their
devotions, in their partially finished store-house. Their harps must
have been hung upon the willows, and pensive must have been the strains
which were breathed from their lips as they endeavored to sing the
Lord’s songs in a strange land. As with firm but saddened voices they
sang, they were startled by the war-whoop of the Indians in the forest.
They knew those fearful cries too well which many of them had heard at
the First Encounter.

Their efficient military commander, Miles Standish, had everything
arranged for such an emergency. Instantly every man seized his musket
and was at his post. Behind their barricade of logs, they could, with
their deadly fire arms, repel almost any number of savages approaching
over the open fields with only bows and arrows. The Indians, who
had been already taught to dread these weapons, after carefully
reconnoitering the position of the Pilgrims, vented their rage in a
few impotent yells, and, without any exposure of their persons to the
bullet, retreated into the wilderness.

The next day was Christmas. With renewed diligence the Pilgrims plied
their labors. “We went on shore,” writes Mourt, “some to fell timber,
some to saw, some to rive, and some to carry. So no man rested all that

As we have mentioned, there were nineteen families, but they differed
considerably in size. The single men joined themselves to some of
these families. The lots of land assigned to these families differed
in size, according to the number of the household. To each individual
person there was allotted about eight feet in breadth by fifty in
length. This would make but about four hundred square feet for each
one. Thus, a family of six persons would have a lot but forty-eight
feet wide by fifty deep. This seems an incredibly small amount of
land for each homestead, when the Pilgrims had the whole continent of
North America before them. The explanation is probably to be found in
the fact that it was necessary for them to place their houses as near
together as possible; that, with neither horses, oxen, or any other
beasts of burden, it was but a small portion of land which any one man
could cultivate; and, again, if any one wished for more land, there
were fields all around him, entirely free, and no one would dispute his
title deed. The homestead lots were so arranged as to make the little
cluster of huts a fortress, protected by their cannon, where their
whole force could be instantly rallied for the public defense. Towards
night of Christmas day, the yells of evidently unfriendly savages were
heard in the depths of the forest. This caused every man to seize his
musket and place himself in the attitude of defense. The wary savages,
however, while uttering these impotent menaces, still kept themselves
carefully concealed.

Tuesday, the 26th of December, ushered in such a storm of rain that
those on shore could do no work, and the gale so roughened the bay that
those on board the ship could not venture an attempt to land. The next
day the storm abated, and every available man was at work. As it seemed
very evident that the savages were hostile, and it was apprehended that
they might be gathering for a general assault, it was deemed necessary,
notwithstanding the pressing need of dwellings, that all should go to
work upon the hill, in the construction of a rude fort and platform for
their ordnance. The vestiges of this fortification are still visible
on the Burial Hill, where the guns could sweep with grape shot the
approaches to their village. It was hoped that the thunders of these
formidable weapons of war, followed by the carnage they could inflict,
should the savages approach in great numbers, would overwhelm them with

The weather, during the remainder of the week, continued very
unfavorable, it being cold, wet and stormy. Still the works on the land
slowly advanced. The savages, without showing themselves, continued to
hover around, and the smokes of great fires were seen, apparently at
the distance of about six or seven miles, indicating that the Indians,
in large numbers, were gathering around them.

The last day of the year 1620 came, sombre and sad. It was the Sabbath.
Many were sick. All were dejected. Wintry dreariness frowned over
earth and sea. Howling savages filled the forest. The provisions of
the Pilgrims were very scanty. The Mayflower was soon to leave them,
to contend, a feeble band, against apparently hostile elements, and
against the far more formidable hostility of savage men. To meet
these perils the Pilgrims could number but forty-one men. Sickness
had already commenced its ravages, and of these men, within three
months, twenty-one died. The chances that such a colony could long be
preserved from extinction, must have seemed almost infinitely small.
As usual, the Pilgrims rested from labor, and devoted the day, some on
shore, some in the ship, to prayer and praise. On this day the Pilgrims
solemnly named their little village Plymouth, in grateful remembrance
of the kindness which they had received from the people of Plymouth, in

Monday morning, the first day of the new year, dawned propitiously
upon these bold-hearted exiles. A cloudless sky and genial atmosphere
invited them to labor. It was still necessary to be ever prepared for
an attack from their unseen foes. With no little solicitude, while
urging forward their work, they watched the moving columns of smoke,
which day by day rose from the distant wilderness, and the gleam of the
fires, which by night illumined the horizon, indicating the movement
and position of the Indians. During Tuesday and Wednesday these fires
seemed to increase in numbers. They were thus led to infer that the
savages were collecting in large numbers from distant parts, and were
making careful preparation for a general and simultaneous assault upon
the feeble colony.

On Thursday morning, the 4th of January, Captain Miles Standish, who
might be truly called the “bravest of the brave,” took with him four
men, well armed, and boldly plunged into the forest, intending to find
the Indians at their rendezvous, and if possible, to open friendly
relations with them. Adopting every precaution to avoid falling into an
ambuscade, he rapidly pushed forward several miles into the pathless
wilderness, threading gloomy ravines, crossing rivulets, and traversing
sublime forests. The wary Indians had undoubtedly their scouts
stationed to give warning of any approach of the white men; for Captain
Standish could not catch sight of a single one of the savages, though
he found several of their deserted wigwams, and even the still glowing
embers of their camp fires. The adventurers were also disappointed in
finding that the woods seemed destitute of game. Upon their return, at
the close of the afternoon, they shot one solitary eagle, whose flesh
the Pilgrims, in their half famished state, pronounced to be “excellent
meat, hardly to be discerned from mutton.”

Friday and Saturday passed away without any event of importance
occurring, while all hands were diligently at work. Another Sabbath
of rest, the 7th of January, dawned upon these toil-worn men and
women. The sun, of Monday, the 8th, rose in a cloudless sky. All bent
themselves eagerly to work. By some unaccountable oversight no small
fishhooks had been brought with them. Thus, though the harbor and the
brook apparently abounded with fishes, they could not be taken. The
shallop, however, was sent out to explore the coast, ascertain where
fishes could be found, and supplied with apparatus for taking seals,
which were seen in large numbers. In the evening the boat returned,
a gale having in the mean time arisen which greatly endangered its
safety. The crew had taken three large seals, and in some way, perhaps
by spearing, had got an excellent codfish.

One of their number, Francis Billington, had, a few days before,
climbed a tree upon the top of a hill, whence he saw, about two miles
southwest from the town, a large body of water, which was either a
lake or an arm of the sea, he could not tell which. He started to-day,
with a companion, to visit it, and found two large lakes of crystal
water, nearly connected together. One was about six miles in circuit,
embellished with a small, luxuriantly wooded island. The other they
estimated to be about three miles in circumference. They both abounded
with fish and water fowl, and apparently an unfailing stream of
water, which is now called Town Brook, issued from one of the lakes
and emptied into the harbor a little south of the rock upon which the
Pilgrims landed. Several Indian houses, but all uninhabited, were found
upon the margin of these sheets of water, which were essentially one

“This beautiful pond, so accurately described, bears the appropriate
name of Billington Sea. In the first century it was called Fresh Lake.
It is about two miles southwest from the town, and in it are two small
islands. It is now, as at first, embosomed in a wilderness of woods.
The eagle still sails over it, and builds in the branches of the
surrounding forest. Here the loon cries, and leaves her eggs on the
shore of the smaller island. Here too, the beautiful wood-duck finds
a sequestered retreat; and the fallow deer, mindful of their ancient
haunts, still resort to it to drink and to browse on its margin.”[8]

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday all hands were busy in their
out-door work. The store-house, or, as they called it, the Common
House, was nearly finished and thatched. The cold, damp weather
hindered them very much, so that they could seldom work more than half
of the time. Friday morning dawned pleasantly, but about noon the
clouds gathered, and the chill rain began to fall, and an increasing
gale moaned through the tree tops. Four men had gone out into the
woods in the morning to gather tall dry grass for thatching. In the
afternoon two of them returned, and said that in some way they had
lost sight of their companions. They had searched for them in vain;
and though they had hallooed and shouted as loud as they could, they
could hear nothing from them. Intense solicitude was felt for them,
and a party of four or five men were immediately dispatched to search
in the direction in which they were last seen. After an absence of a
few hours they returned, at the close of the day, not having been able
to discover any traces of the lost, though they found many indications
that the Indians were lurking around. The long, stormy wintry night
passed slowly away, and still there were no tidings of the wanderers.
In the morning twelve men, well armed, probably under the leadership
of Captain Miles Standish, set out for a more extended exploration. It
was well known that Captain Standish would fail in nothing which mortal
energy or courage could accomplish. The prayers of the sorrowing band
accompanied them as they plunged into the forest. After a long and
careful search, in which they could find no trace whatever of the lost
men, they returned at night in deep dejection to their companions. All
the Pilgrims gathered around them, men, women and children, to hear the
account of their unsuccessful search.

While thus assembled they were startled by a shout in the distance,
and looking up, to their inexpressible joy, saw the two men emerging
from the forest. They ran to meet the wanderers, John Goodman and Peter
Brown, whose apparition was as life from the dead. Their tattered
garments and emaciate cheeks testified to the hardships which they
had endured. The following was the account which they gave of their

As they were gathering some long grass, for thatching, about a mile
from the village, probably on the banks of Town Brook, they saw a pond
in the distance, perhaps Murdock’s Pond, and repaired to it. Upon the
margin of the pond they found a deer drinking. Two dogs they had with
them sprang after the deer, and pursued it eagerly into the forest. The
men followed, hoping that the dogs would seize the deer, and that thus
they might be able to capture so rich a prize. As, led by the baying
of the hounds, they followed the deer in its windings and turnings,
they became bewildered and lost in the pathless wilds which they had
penetrated. All the afternoon they wandered in vain seeking some clew
to lead them back to their home.

Night, dismal night, lowered over them with clouds, a rising gale,
and snow mingled with rain. They had no axes with which to construct
a shelter. They could find no cave or hollow tree in which to take
refuge. Weary, footsore and starving, and with no weapon but a small
sickle with which they had been cutting thatch, they heard the howling
of wolves around them, and other strange cries from wild beasts, of
they knew not what ferocity. Their only protection seemed to be to
climb into a tree. They tried it. The keen wintry blast so pierced
their thin clothing that they could not endure the cold. Death by
freezing would be inevitable.

The blackness of Egyptian darkness was now around them. They also heard
a fearful roaring of wild beasts, which was undoubtedly the howling of
wolves, but which they supposed to be the roar of lions. They stood at
the root of the trees all the night long, exercising as they could to
keep themselves warm, ever ready to spring into the branches should
danger approach. They were compelled to hold one of their dogs by the
neck, he was so eager to rush in pursuit of the beasts whose cries
excited him.

The long winter night at length gave way to the gloom of a stormy
morning. Half frozen and starving, and expecting to perish in the
wilderness, these lost men resumed their search for home. They waded
through swamps, forded streams, encountered ponds, struggled through
thickets which tore clothing and skin. At last they came to a hill.
Climbing one of the tallest trees, they saw the ocean in the distance,
and, to their inexpressible joy, recognized the harbor of Plymouth, by
two little islands which dotted its surface. The sight reanimated their
drooping minds and bodies. All day long, in the extreme of exhaustion,
they tottered on their way, until just before nightfall they reached
their home. The feet of one of these men, John Goodman, were so swollen
that they were compelled to cut off his shoes.

The work of building had advanced slowly. The days were short, cold and
stormy. Nearly all were enfeebled by toil and exposure, while some were
seriously sick. Both Governor Carver and Mr. Bradford, his successor
in office, were prostrate with fevers. They were on beds in the Common
House, where cots had been arranged on the floor for the sick, as near
one to another as they could be placed. Though many of the Pilgrims
were still in the Mayflower, the majority lodged on shore.

The Common House was so far finished, nearly all of its roof being
thatched, that it afforded protection from the snow and rain, while its
thick walls of logs shut off the piercing wind, and a cheerful fire
blazed upon the stone hearth.

On Sunday morning, January 14th, about six o’clock, the wind blowing
almost a gale, they were appalled by the cry of “fire.” The thatch
of grass, dry as tinder, touched by a spark, was in a blaze. All
the ammunition and most of the arms had been brought on shore and
deposited in the store-house. Its loss would expose them, defenceless,
to the tomahawk of the Indian. Nearly all of their scanty supply of
food was there. Without it starvation was inevitable. The people in
the ship saw the smoke and the flame, but the tide was out, and they
could not reach the shore. Soon, however, the tide came in, the gale
abated, and a boat load cautiously advanced to the land, where they
had all proposed to pass the Sabbath together, the majority of the
company being then on shore. Upon landing they were cheered with the
tidings that the lost men were found, and that the fire, which had been
extinguished, was accidental.


_Life On Shore._

  Days of Sunshine and Storm.--Ravages of Pestilence.--A Raging
      Storm.--New Alarm of Fire.--Twelve Indians Seen.--Two Indians
      Appear on the Hill.--Great Alarm in the Settlement.--Measures
      of Defense.--More Sunny Days.--Humanity and Self-Denial of
      Miles Standish and Others.--Conduct of the Ship’s Crew.--
      Excursion to Billington Sea.--The Visit of Samoset.--Treachery
      of Captain Hunt.--The Shipwrecked Frenchmen.--The Plague.--
      The Wampanoags.--More Indian Visitors.--Bad Conduct of the

Monday, the 15th of January, opened upon the way-worn exiles with
another storm of wind and rain, so that those on shipboard could
not leave the vessel, and those on shore could do no work. The next
three days, however, were pleasant, each morning dawning upon them
with rare loveliness. Their hearts were cheered, and they pressed
forward in their labors with great vigor. The terrible fright which
the fire caused taught them that they must place their store-house
apart from the other buildings, and where there would be no exposure
to conflagration. They, therefore, went immediately to work to put up
a shed for this purpose, intending to reserve the building already
erected as a common lodging house until the separate huts could be

Friday opened pleasantly; but at noon it began to rain, which prevented
any out-door work. Towards evening the storm abated, and John Goodman,
whose feet had been sadly crippled by his exposure in the woods,
hobbled out a little way from the village for exercise, accompanied by
a small spaniel. Two half famished wolves came leaping from the forest
in pursuit of his dog. The terrified animal ran between his master’s
legs for protection. Mr. Goodman caught up a heavy stick, and for some
time kept the ferocious beasts at bay. They kept at a little distance,
just out of reach of his club, gnashing upon him with their sharp and
glistening teeth in most dramatic style. But ere long the wolves, to
Mr. Goodman’s intense relief, turned away and rushed howling into the

The next day, Saturday the 20th of January, they completed their shed
for a store-house, and nearly all of their company came to the land.
On Sunday, 21st, there was a general assembling of the Pilgrims in the
Common House, as their temple, where their revered and beloved pastor,
Rev. Mr. Brewster, conducted divine worship. This was the first Sabbath
on which the Pilgrims as a body had been able to meet together in their
new home.

Monday, 22d, was a fair day, and during the whole week the weather
continued propitious. All were busy, bringing boat loads of freight
from the ship, and packing away their provisions and other goods in
the store-house. Two boats were employed in bringing the luggage on
shore, but it was slow work, in consequence of the distant anchorage of
the Mayflower. As they had neither ox, mule nor horse, all the articles
had to be carried by hand from the landing-place to their destination
many rods distant from the shore.

The next week was ushered in by a storm of piercing wind and sleet. To
add to its gloom, on its first day, Rose, the young and beautiful wife
of Captain Standish, died. But care, sickness, death now came in such
swift succession as to leave the survivors but little time to weep over
the dead. The two succeeding days the weather was so inclement that no
work could be done. Not very far from the ship’s place of anchorage
there was a small island. On Wednesday morning those on board the ship
saw two savages walking upon the island. What they were doing no one
could tell. They were seen but for a few moments, when they retired out
of sight in the forest.

On Sunday morning, February 4th, a fearful gale swept the bay. It was
the most severe storm the Pilgrims had yet encountered. For some time
great apprehensions were felt lest the ship should be torn from her
moorings and dashed upon the shore. The huts, which they were erecting
for their dwellings, were of unhewn logs, the interstices being filled
with clay. The wind and the rain washed out this clay, causing very
serious damage. Much of the thatching also, as yet but insecurely
fastened, was whirled into the air by the tempest, like autumn leaves.
During the whole of the week the weather continued so cold and stormy
that but little work could be done.

In consequence of the increasing sickness, it had been found necessary
to put up a small house for a hospital. On Friday, the 9th, the
thatched roof of this building took fire from a spark. Fortunately the
wet weather had so dampened the straw that the fire was extinguished
without doing much damage. Where wood was the only fuel, ever throwing
up a shower of sparks, a thatch of straw, often as dry as tinder,
seemed to invite conflagration. Thus their little hamlet, of clustered
log houses, was peculiarly exposed to the peril of fire. That afternoon
five wild geese were shot, which afforded a very grateful repast to the
sick people. A good fat deer was also found, which had just been killed
by the Indians, and which, for some inexplicable reason they had left,
having cut off its horns. It is possible that the wary savages, keeping
a sharp look out, had seen some of the white men approaching, and had
fled. A wolf had, however, anticipated the Pilgrims, and was daintily
feeding upon the tender venison.

Another week came, with great discouragement of stormy weather,
and with increasing sickness. The men worked to much disadvantage,
everything having to be done with their own hands. The logs, generally
about a foot in thickness and nearly twenty feet long, had often to be
dragged from very inconvenient distances. This was labor which could
not safely be performed with clothing drenched with rain and pierced
with the wintry gale. Often whole days were lost in which no work could
be done.

Friday, February 16th, was a fair day. It was, however, very cold, and
the ground was frozen hard. In the afternoon one of the company took
his gun and went into the woods a fowling. He had gone about a mile and
a half from the plantation, and had concealed himself in some reeds,
which fringed a creek, watching for wild geese or ducks, when, to his
astonishment, twelve Indians appeared, walking towards the plantation,
in single file and in perfect silence. Almost breathless he crouched
down beneath his covert until they had disappeared, and then, with the
utmost caution, hastened back to give the alarm.

The Indians, it would seem, were out upon a reconnoitering tour. They
were very careful not to show themselves at the settlement, though
they came sufficiently near to take some tools which Captain Standish
and Francis Cooke, who had been at work in the woods, had left behind
them, with no apprehension that there were any prowlers so near. The
alarm caused the whole Pilgrim band immediately to rally under arms.
There was, however, nothing more seen of the savages. But that night a
large fire was discovered near the spot where the twelve Indians had
made their appearance.

It was now deemed important to have a more perfect military
organization, to meet the dangers impending from the manifestly
unfriendly spirit of the Indians. The Pilgrims, in their weakened
state, were but poorly prepared for any general assault. On Saturday
morning, the 19th of February, they all assembled in council, and
Captain Standish was invested with almost dictatorial powers as
military commander. With characteristic sagacity and energy he
undertook the responsible duties thus devolving upon him. While they
were assembled in consultation, two Indians appeared upon a small
eminence, then called Strawberry Hill, on the other side of Town Brook,
about a quarter of a mile southwest from the village, and made signs to
the Pilgrims to come to them.

It was not improbable that they were a decoy, and that hundreds of
armed warriors were concealed in the forest behind, ready, at a
concerted signal, to raise the terrible war-whoop and rush upon their
victims with javelin and tomahawk. There were not a score of Pilgrims
able to bear arms. What could they do to repel such an onset. It was an
awful hour, in view of the possibilities which were before them. The
women and children huddled together in terror. It seemed probable to
them that the Indians had long been gathering and making preparations
for this assault, and that within an hour their husbands and fathers
would be slain, and that they would be at the mercy of the savages.

The perilous duty of advancing to meet the savages, and of thus being
perhaps the first to fall into the ambush, Captain Standish took upon
himself. Selecting Mr. Stephen Hopkins, one of the most illustrious of
the Pilgrims, and a man alike distinguished for his prudence and his
bravery, to accompany him, he advanced, entirely unarmed, in token of
his friendly disposition, across the brook. Mr. Hopkins carried his
gun. When they reached the foot of the eminence the gun was laid upon
the ground, as an additional sign of peace, and they both moved forward
to meet the tufted warriors. The conduct of the savages was often quite
inexplicable. They were as capricious as children. On this occasion,
as Captain Standish and Mr. Hopkins slowly ascended the hill, the two
Indians upon the summit suddenly turned and fled precipitately down the
other side of the hill into the dense forest.

It was a very bold act, it seems to us now a very imprudent one, for
these two unarmed men, still to advance to the summit of the hill,
thus exposing themselves to fall into an Indian ambush. They however
cautiously moved on; when they reached the top of the hill not an
Indian was in sight, but they heard the noise of a great multitude
retreating through the forest. They were of course greatly perplexed to
judge what all this senseless conduct could mean. One thing, however,
was certain; the Indians were not disposed to establish friendly
relations with the new comers.

Captain Standish made immediate and vigorous preparation for a war
of defense. It was very evident to him that, though they might be
surrounded by cruel, treacherous and inveterate foes, they had but
little to fear from the intelligence or military ability of their
enemies. He had immediately brought on shore, and mounted on the
platform, which he had arranged for them on the hill, three guns.
One was called a minion, with a bore three and a quarter inches in
diameter. Another was a saker, about four inches in bore. The third,
called a base, was but little larger than a musket, having a bore but
one and a quarter inches in diameter. The heaviest gun weighed about a
thousand pounds, and carried a ball about four pounds in weight. This
important work was all accomplished by Wednesday, February 21st. It
appears that the officers of the Mayflower assisted efficiently in the
operation. The united company then dined luxuriously upon a very fat
goose, a fat crane, a mallard,[9] and a dried neats tongue. And so we
were kindly and friendly together.[10]

Sunday, the 3d of March, came. It was a lovely day. The severity of
winter had passed. A dreadful winter to the Pilgrims, indeed it had
been. During the month of February seventeen of their number had died.
Eight had died during the month of January. In burying the dead it
had been deemed necessary carefully to conceal their graves lest the
Indians, in counting them, should ascertain how greatly they had been
weakened. Governor Bradford, in recording these disastrous events,

“After they had provided a place for their goods, or common store,
which were long in unlading for want of boats, foulness of winter
weather and sickness of divers, and begun some small cottages for
their habitation, they met, as time would admit, and consulted of
laws and orders, both for their civil and military government, as the
necessities of their occasion did require.

“In these hard and difficult beginnings they found some discontents
and murmurings arise among some, and mutinous speeches and carriage
in others. But they were soon quelled and overcome by the wisdom,
patience, and just and equal carriage of things, by the Governor and
better part, which clave faithfully together in the main. But that
which was most sad and lamentable was that, in two or three months’
time half of their company died; especially in January and February,
being the depth of winter, and wanting houses and other comforts;
being infected with scurvy and other diseases, which their long voyage
and inaccommodate condition had brought upon them; so as there died
sometimes two or three of a day, that of one hundred and odd persons,
scarce fifty remained.[11]

“And of these, in the time of most distress, there were but six or
seven sound persons who, to their great commendation be it spoken,
spared no pains, night nor day, but with abundance of toil and hazard
of their own health, fetched them wood and made them fires, dressed
their meat, made their beds, washed their loathsome clothes, clothed
and unclothed them; in a word, did all the homely and necessary offices
for them which dainty and quesie stomachs cannot endure to hear named;
and all this willingly and cheerfully, without any grudging in the
least, shewing herein their true love unto their friends and brethren.
A rare example, and worthy to be remembered.

“Two of these seven were Mr. William Brewster, their reverend Elder,
and Miles Standish, their Captain and military commander, unto whom
myself and many others were much beholden in our low and sick condition.

“And yet the Lord so upheld these persons as, in this general calamity,
they were not at all infected with sickness or lameness. And what I
have said of these I may say of many others who died in this general
visitation, and others yet living, that whilst they had health, yea or
any strength continuing, they were not wanting to any that had need of
them. And I doubt not but that their recompense is with the Lord.

“But I may not here pass by another remarkable passage, never to be
forgotten. As this calamity fell among the passengers that were to be
left here to plant, and were hasted ashore and made to drink water,
that the seamen might have the more beer. And one (Mr. Bradford) in
his sickness desiring but a small can of beer, it was answered that
if he were their own father he should have none. The disease began to
fall amongst them also, so as almost half of their company died before
they went away, and many of their officers and lustiest men, as the
boatswain, gunner, three quartermasters, the cook and others. At which
the Master was somewhat strucken, and sent to the sick, on shore, and
told the Governor he would send beer for them that had need of it,
though he drank water, homeward bound.

“But now amongst his company there was far another kind of carriage
in this misery than among the passengers. For they that beforetime
had been boon companions in drinking and jollity in the time of their
health and welfare, began now to desert one another in this calamity,
saying that they would not hazard their lives for them; they should be
infected by coming to them in their cabins. And so, after they came to
die by it, would do little or nothing for them, but if they died, let
them die.

“But such of the passengers as were yet aboard shewed them what mercy
they could, which made some of their hearts relent, as the boatswain,
who was a proud young man, and would often curse and scoff at the
passengers. But when he grew weak they had compassion on him and helped
him. Then he confessed he did not deserve it at their hands; he had
abused them in word and deed. ‘O,’ saith he, ‘you, I now see, show your
love, like Christians indeed, one to another. But we let one another
lie and die like dogs.’

“Another lay cursing his wife, saying if it had not been for her he
had never come this unlucky voyage, and anon cursing his fellows,
saying he had done this and that for some of them; he had spent so
much and so much amongst them, and they were now weary of him, and did
not help him having need. Another gave his companion all he had, if he
died, to help him in his weakness. He went and got a little spice, and
made him a mess of meat once or twice; and because he died not as soon
as he expected, he went among his fellows and swore the rogue would
cozen him; he would see him choked before he made him any more meat;
and yet the poor fellow died before morning.”

As we have mentioned, the third of March dawned beautifully, sunny and
mild, upon the weary Pilgrims. The birds sang sweetly, and everything
indicated the speedy return of the much-longed-for summer weather. But
towards noon the clouds gathered, the rain fell in torrents, and they
were visited with one of the severest tempests, accompanied by the
loudest thunder, any of them had ever witnessed.

On Wednesday, the 7th of March, a company of five, all well armed,
accompanied Governor Carver to the great lakes, to which they had given
the name of Billington Sea. These waters abounded with fish, and it
would seem that by this time they had devised some plan by which to
take them. They found the woods through which they passed filled with
well-beaten deer tracks, indicating the presence of large numbers of
that species of game, though they did not chance to meet with any. Many
water fowl were also disporting upon the placid waters of the lake,
some of very beautiful plumage. The weather was so warm and the season
so advanced that some garden seeds were sown on this day.

Another week passed, during which their work proceeded very slowly in
consequence of their enfeebled numbers and the claims of the sick on
the services of the few who were well. Friday, the 16th, was a fair,
warm day. Every one felt the situation of the colony to be perilous in
the extreme. The sailors of the Mayflower were suffering alike with
the Pilgrims on the land. There were but seven men who, in case of
an attack, which was hourly anticipated, could present any efficient
resistance. The onset of a hundred armed warriors (and a thousand might
come) would sweep away their little village like an Alpine avalanche.
The responsibility for the public defense thus resting upon Captain
Standish, was very weighty. Every individual had his post of duty
assigned him, that there should be no confused or embarrassed action
in the alarm. Captain Standish had this morning assembled all who were
capable of bearing arms in the northern part of their little street,
to complete their military preparations, when, to their surprise, they
saw a solitary savage approaching from the south.

Without the slightest indication of embarrassment or hesitation
he strode along, entered the street, and advancing boldly to the
rendezvous, saluted the Pilgrims with the words, “Welcome Englishmen.”
His only clothing consisted of a leather belt around his waist, to
which was attached a fringe, about ten inches long. He had a bow and
two arrows. He was a powerful man, tall and straight, with very black
hair, long behind, but cut short over the forehead. In broken English
he told them that his name was Samoset, and that he came from the
Island of Monhegan, between the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers, about
twelve miles from the shore.

This island had for many years been a favorite resort for the English
fishermen. From them he had learned a little English, and knew the
names of many of the captains who annually visited those waters. Seeing
the Mayflower in the harbor, he supposed it to be a fishing vessel, and
thus, without any fear, approached the men.

Samoset affected to be very free and unembarrassed in his carriage.
He declared himself to be one of the chiefs of the tribe, and assumed
to be perfectly informed respecting the whole adjacent country, its
tribes and their strength. He called for beer, and seemed disposed
to make himself very much at home, entering the houses and spying
out with an eagle eye all the works around him. Captain Standish was
not disposed to have his weakness exposed to this perhaps wary and
treacherous savage, who might have entered the village merely as a spy,
in the interest of the Indian warriors who were lurking in the woods
around. To make him a little more presentable to the families, a large
horseman’s coat was placed upon him. Instead of being allowed to wander
about at will, he was entrusted to the keeping of Mr. Hopkins, who took
him to his hut and fed him with the utmost hospitality.

From Samoset they learned three very important facts. The first
was that the Indians, all along the coast, were greatly and justly
exasperated against the white men, by the treachery of one Captain
Hunt. This infamous man, while trading with the Indians, had inveigled
twenty-seven men on board his ship, and then, closing the hatches upon
them, had carried them off where most of them had never been heard of
more. The wretch took these poor kidnapped Indians to Spain, and sold
them as slaves, for one hundred dollars each. The untutored savages
who, before this, were friendly, being thus robbed of their kindred,
knew no better than to wreak their vengeance upon any white man whom
they might encounter.

Not long after this a French ship was wrecked on Cape Cod. The savages,
burning with a desire for vengeance, massacred all but three or
four of the crew, whom they reserved as prisoners. Everything that
had been saved from the wreck they divided among themselves. Hence,
perhaps, the iron kettle which the Pilgrims had found in one of their
exploring tours. The captives were sent from one tribe to another,
into the interior, that there might be no possibility of a rescue. One
of these captives, probably a thoughtful, perhaps a religious man,
learned their language, and told them that “God was angry with them,
and in punishment would destroy them and give their country to another
people.” They replied that “they were so numerous that God would not be
able to destroy them.”

But it so happened that ere long a terrible plague, resembling the
yellow fever, broke out among the Indians, sweeping them off by
thousands. The whole country became nearly depopulated. In these
disastrous days the Indians remembered the words of the Frenchman, and
began to fear that the white man’s God was really taking vengeance upon
them. When the Mayflower arrived they feared that another people had
come to take possession of their lands. Hence the hostile attitude
which had been assumed, and the attack at the First Encounter. Samoset
seemed to know all about this attack, and said that it was made by a
tribe on the Cape called Nausites.

It appears that the plague, above referred to, swept the whole
seaboard, from the mouth of the Penobscot River to Narraganset Bay.
Some tribes became nearly extinct. The Massachusetts tribe was reduced,
it is said, from thirty thousand to three hundred fighting men.
Captain Dermer, who visited the coast a year before the landing of the
Pilgrims, writes:

“I passed along the coast where I found some ancient plantations,
not long since populous, now utterly void. In other places a remnant
remains, but not free of sickness. Their disease was the plague, for we
might perceive the sores of some that had escaped, who described the
spots of such as usually die.”

Morton writes in his New English Canaan: “Some few years before the
English came to inhabit in New Plymouth, the hand of God fell heavily
upon the natives, with such a mortal stroke that they died on heaps.
In a place where many inhabited there hath been but one left alive
to tell what became of the rest. And the bones and skulls upon the
several places of their habitations made such a spectacle, after my
coming into these parts, that as I travelled in that forest, near the
Massachusetts, it seemed to me a new-found Golgotha.”

In view of these facts it was stated, in the Great Patent of New
England, granted by King James, on the 3d of November, 1820, “We have
been further given certainly to know, that within these late years
there hath, by God’s visitation, reigned a wonderful plague amongst
the savages there heretofore inhabiting, in a manner to the utter
destruction, devastation and depopulation of that whole territory, so
as there is not left, for many leagues together, in a manner, any that
do claim or challenge any kind of interest therein. Whereby we, in our
judgment, are persuaded and satisfied that the appointed time is come
in which Almighty God, in his great goodness and bounty towards us
and our people, hath thought fit and determined, that these large and
goodly territories, deserted as it were by their natural inhabitants,
should be possessed and enjoyed by such of our subjects and people as
shall, by his mercy and favor, and by his powerful arm, be directed and
conducted thither.”

All the afternoon was spent in earnest communication with Samoset. He
told them that the Nausites, by whom they had been attacked, numbered
about one hundred souls. There was a powerful tribe, called the
Wampanoags, upon the shores of what is now called Bristol Bay. Their
chief, Massasoit, was so powerful that he exercised a sort of supremacy
over many of the tribes in the vicinity. There was another numerous
tribe, not far from the Wampanoags, called the Narragansets. Samoset
does not seem to have known, or if so, was not willing to tell the
number of Indians lurking in the woods around the Pilgrim settlement.
The mystery of their conduct was, however, in some degree revealed,
when the Pilgrims were informed that the Indians, with their priests,
had met in a dark swamp, in a general pow-wow, hoping by their curses
and incantations to destroy the white men.

On the whole, the information communicated by Samoset was encouraging.
It led them to hope that their foes were not so numerous as they
feared, that they regarded, with superstitious dread, the God of the
white man, and that they were rather disposed to rely upon witchcraft
and incantations, in their warfare upon the new-comers, than upon more
material and dangerous weapons. Had the Indians known what ravages
death was making in the huts of the Pilgrims, they would have felt
assured that their magic arts were signally successful.

As night approached, Captain Standish was quite anxious to get rid of
his suspicious guest. But Samoset manifested no disposition to leave.
He however consented to go on board the ship to pass the night. They
went down to the shallop. But the wind was so high that it was not
deemed prudent to encounter the high sea, and they returned to Mr.
Stephen Hopkins’ house, where Samoset was lodged, and carefully though
secretly watched.

The next day, Saturday, the 17th, early in the morning, Samoset
withdrew, to go, as he said, to visit the great sagamore, Massasoit.
He received a present of a knife, a bracelet and a ring, promising to
return in a few days, bringing with him some of Massasoit’s people, and
some beaver skins to sell.

Sunday, the 18th, was another mild and lovely day. As the colonists
were assembling for the Sabbath devotions, Samoset again made his
appearance, with five tall Indians in his train. They were all dressed
in deer skins, fitting closely to the body. The most of them had also a
panther’s skin, or some similar furs on his arm, for sale. As Captain
Standish did not deem it safe to allow any armed savages to enter the
town, he made a previous arrangement with Samoset, that whoever of the
Indians he might bring with him, should leave their bows and arrows
a quarter of a mile distant from this village. This arrangement was
faithfully observed. Samoset also brought back the tools, which, it
will be remembered, had been carried away by the Indians. Mourt, in
his Relation, describes, in the following language, the appearance of
these strange visitors:

“They had, most of them, long hosen (leggins) up to their groins, close
made; and above their groins to the waist, another leather. They were
altogether like the Irish trousers. They are of complexion like our
English gipseys; no hair, or very little, on their faces; on their
heads, long hair to their shoulders, only cut before; some trussed up
before with a feather, broadwise like a fan; another a fox tail hanging
out. Some of them had their faces painted black, from the forehead to
the chin, four or five fingers broad; others after other fashions, as
they liked.”

The Pilgrims, anxious to win the confidence and friendship of the
natives, received these savages with the utmost kindness, and very
hospitably entertained them. They seemed to relish very highly the
food which was set before them, and manifested their satisfaction and
friendship by singing hilariously, and performing the most grotesque
antics in a dance. It was Sunday, and this was not pleasing to these
devout exiles. They told Samoset that they could not enter into any
traffic on that day; but that if he and his companions would withdraw
and return upon the morrow, or any other day of the week, they would
purchase, not only all the furs they had with them, but any others
which they might bring. Each one was made happy with a present of some
article which to him was of almost priceless value. They all retired
except Samoset. He refused to go, asserting, and as the Pilgrims
thought, feigning, that he was sick. He therefore remained until
Wednesday. Each of these men carried his commissariat stores with him,
consisting of a small bag of the meal of parched corn. Mr. Gookin, in
an article in the Massachusetts Historical Collection, writes:

“The Indians make a certain sort of meal of parched maize, which they
call _nokake_. It is so sweet, toothsome and hearty that an Indian will
travel many days with no other food but this meal, which he eateth as
he needs, and after it drinketh water. And for this end, when they
travel a journey or go a hunting, they carry this _nokake_ in a basket
or bag, for their use.”

Roger Williams says, “Nokake, or parched meal, is a ready, very
wholesome food, which they eat with a little water, hot or cold. I
have travelled with near two hundred of them at once, near a hundred
miles through the woods, every man carrying a little basket of this at
his back, and sometimes in a hollow leather girdle about his middle,
sufficient for a man three or four days. With this ready provision and
their bows and arrows, they are ready for war or travel at an hour’s

The corn was usually parched in hot ashes, and then, after having
the ashes carefully brushed off, was beat to powder. About a gill of
this mixed with water, taken three times a day, gave them sufficient
nourishment. With no other food than this, a man would often travel
through the woods four or five days, carrying a very heavy burden upon
his back.

When the Mayflower was leaving England, a man by the name of John
Billington, uninvited, with two ungovernable boys, joined the company.
He proved to be a very uncongenial companion. Governor Bradford,
writing of him, said: This Billington was one of the profanest among
us. He came from London, and I know not by what friends, was shuffled
into our company.” Again, Governor Bradford wrote to Mr. Cushman, in
June, 1625, “Billington still rails against you, and threatens to
arrest you, I know not wherefore. He is a knave, and so will live and
die.” In “Mourts’ Narrative,” under date of December 5th, he writes:

“This day, through God’s mercy, we escaped a great danger by the
foolishness of a boy, one of Billington’s sons, who, in his father’s
absence, had got gunpowder, and had shot off a piece or two and made
squibs; and there being a fowling-piece charged in his father’s cabin,
shot her off in the cabin.” There was half a keg of powder in the
cabin, with many grains scattered over the floor; also flints and
pieces of iron strowed about. It was a very narrow escape from an
explosion which might have blown the Mayflower, with all its occupants,
into the air. This John Billington, “a mischievous and troublesome
fellow,” was dissatisfied with the authority with which Captain
Standish was invested. He endeavored to undermine his influence by
assailing him with insulting and opprobrious language. This was a very
serious offense, since, in their perilous position, it was a matter of
infinite moment that the orders of their military commander should be
implicitly obeyed. The whole company was convened to try the culprit
and pass sentence upon him. “He was adjudged to have his neck and heels
tied together. But upon humbling himself and craving pardon, and it
being the first offense, he was forgiven.”


_The Indians._

  Two Savages on the Hill.--The Return of Samoset with Squantum.--The
      Story of Squantum.--The Visit of Massasoit and His Warriors.--
      Etiquette of the Barbarian and Pilgrim Courts.--The Treaty.--
      Return of the Mayflower to England.--A View of Plymouth.--
      Brighter Days.--Visit of Messrs. Winslow and Hopkins to the Seat
      of Massasoit.--Incidents of the Journey.

Several days passed, and the Indians, who had retired into the forest,
did not return. The cottages of the Pilgrims, each man building his
own, had now become habitable, and Monday and Tuesday, the weather
being fair, they were busy digging the ground and sowing their garden
seeds. On Wednesday morning, the 21st of March, Samoset was sent into
the woods to ascertain why the Indians did not come back according
to their promise. He had but just disappeared in the forest when two
savages, in war costume and thoroughly armed, appeared upon the hill,
on the other side of Town Brook--the same eminence upon which the two
Indians had appeared on the 17th of February--and brandishing their
weapons, with every demonstration of hostility, seemed to bid the
new-comers defiance. This was probably one of the acts in their drama
of incantation.

Captain Standish, who was ever prompt to assume any office of danger,
took a companion with him and advanced to meet the challengers. They
both took their muskets, but carefully avoided any attitude of menace.
Two other Pilgrims followed, at a little distance, also with their
muskets, to render aid should there be any rush of the Indians from an
ambush. But before Captain Standish had arrived within arrow-shot of
the natives they both turned, as before, and fled.

In consequence of sickness and the imperfect accommodations on the
shore, several of the Pilgrim company had thus far remained on board
the Mayflower. To-day, however, the shallop brought them all to the
land, and their colonizing became complete. One-half of the crew of
the ship had already died; and so many of the remainder were enfeebled
by sickness that Captain Jones did not deem it safe to undertake his
return voyage in so crippled a condition. A month passed before the
sick and his diminished crew were so far recovered as to allow him to
venture to set sail.

The sun of Thursday morning, with healing in its beams, rose bright and
warm over the busy little village of the exiles. The dreary winter had
manifestly passed. The sick were generally recovering, and there was
presented a very cheering scene of peace, industry and happiness. At
noon all the men had met upon some public business, when, in the midst
of their deliberations, they saw Samoset returning, accompanied by
three other Indians. The name of one was Squantum, and it was said that
he was the only surviving member of the Patuxat tribe, who had formerly
occupied the territory upon which the Pilgrims had now settled.

His story, undoubtedly truthful, was that he was one of the men whom
Captain Hunt had so infamously kidnapped. He had been carried to Spain
and sold there as a slave. A humane Englishman, whose name we love to
perpetuate, Mr. John Slaney, chanced to meet the poor fugitive. He
liberated him, took him to England, and treated him with that truly
fraternal kindness which Christianity enjoins upon all men. At length
he had an opportunity to send Squantum back to his native land.

Good deeds and bad deeds ever bear their corresponding fruit. As the
treachery of the miserable Hunt caused the hostility of the Indians,
the massacre of the shipwrecked Frenchmen, and the attack at the First
Encounter, so did the brotherly kindness of good John Slaney secure
for the Pilgrims, in their hour of need, a permanent and influential
friend. Squantum, forgetting the outrage of the knave who had
kidnapped him, remembered only the kindness of his benefactor. His
residence in England had rendered him quite familiar with the English
language, and he became invaluable to the Pilgrims as an interpreter.
He attached himself cordially to them, and taught them many things of
great value in their new life in the wilderness. And when, after many
years, he died, the good old man was heard praying that God would take
him to the heaven of the white men.

Squantum had joined the powerful tribe of the Wampanoags, his own tribe
having become extinct. These Indians brought with them a few skins to
sell, and some dried red herrings; and they also announced the rather
startling intelligence that their great Sagamore, or King Massasoit,
accompanied by his brother Quadequina and a retinue of sixty warriors,
was near at hand to pay the Pilgrims a friendly visit.

After the lapse of an hour Massasoit appeared on the top of Watson’s
Hill with his plumed warriors. From that eminence, distant about a
quarter of a mile, they had a perfect view of the little village, and
were conspicuously exposed to the view of the Pilgrims. Under the
circumstances, knowing not what might be the treachery of the Indians,
Captain Standish did not deem it safe to allow so powerful a band
of armed savages to enter the village, or to allow any considerable
band of his weak force to withdraw from behind the intrenchments which
they had reared, and to go out to meet the royal retinue. Neither did
Massasoit deem it prudent to place himself in the power of the white
men, whom the treachery of Hunt had caused him to dread.

After several messages had passed to and fro between the two parties,
through Squantum, their interpreter, Massasoit, who, though unlettered,
proved himself to be a man of much sagacity, proposed that the Pilgrims
should send one of their men to his encampment to communicate to him
their designs in settling upon lands which had belonged to one of his
vassal tribes. Mr. Edward Winslow consented to go upon this important
and somewhat hazardous mission. He took, as a present to the barbarian
monarch, two skins and a copper necklace, with a jewel attached to
it. He also took to Quadequina a knife, an ear-ring, consisting of a
pendent jewel, some biscuit and butter, and, we are sorry to add, a jug
of rum; but those were the days of ignorance which God winked at.

Mr. Winslow, accompanied by Squantum, as his interpreter, crossed the
brook, ascended Watson’s Hill, and presented himself before the Indian
chief. “Our messenger,” writes Mourt, “made a speech unto him, that
King James saluted him with words of love and peace, and did accept
him as his friend and ally; and that our Governor desired to see him,
and to truck with him, and to confirm a peace with him, as his next

Massasoit listened attentively to the speech, as communicated to him by
the interpreter, and seemed much pleased with it. In token of amity,
they had a little feast together. Massasoit seemed much impressed with
the long and glittering sword which hung by the side of Mr. Winslow,
and expressed a strong desire to purchase it; but Mr. Winslow could not
consent to part with the weapon.

After a pleasant and very friendly interview, Massasoit, cautiously
leaving Mr. Winslow as a hostage in the custody of his brother
Quadequina, came down to the brook with twenty men, as his retinue,
all unarmed. Six of them were sent into the village, as hostages in
exchange for Mr. Winslow.

Then Captain Standish, with one companion, probably Mr. Thomas
Williams, and followed by half a dozen musketeers, advanced to the
brook to meet the royal guest and to escort him, with all due honor,
to the presence of their Governor. A salute of six muskets was fired,
and the monarch with his Indian band was led to an unfinished house
which had been hastily decorated for their reception. It was deemed
important to arrange something of an imposing pageant to impress the
minds of their barbarian visitors. Two or three cushions were laid
down, covered with a green carpet, as seats for the Indian chief and
for the Governor in this important interview. As soon as Massasoit was
seated the music of drums and of a trumpet was heard, and Governor
Carver, with a suitable retinue, entered. Gracefully he took the hand
of Massasoit and kissed it. In accordance with the mistaken views of
hospitality in those days, ardent spirits were brought forward to
regale the guests. This was probably the first time Massasoit had ever
seen the accursed liquid, and he was entirely unacquainted with its
fiery nature. The Indian chieftain, deeming it a part of politeness
to partake generously of the entertainment provided for him, when the
goblet was presented, “drunk a great draft which made him sweat all the
while after.”

Massasoit was a remarkable man. He was of majestic stature, in the
prime of life, of grave and stately demeanor, reserved in speech, and
ever proving faithful to all his obligations. He wore a chain of white
bone beads about his neck, and a little bag of tobacco, from which he
smoked himself and presented to Governor Carver to smoke. His face
was painted of a deep red color, and his hair and face so oiled as to
present a very glossy appearance. His followers were also all painted,
in various styles and of various colors. Some were partially clothed
in skins, others were nearly naked. They were all tall, powerful men.
After much friendly deliberation, the Governor and Massasoit entered
into the following very simple, but comprehensive treaty of peace and

1. The Sagamore pledged himself that none of his men should do any harm
to the Pilgrims; and that, if any harm were done, the offender should
be sent to them that they might punish them.

2. That, if any property belonging to the white men should be taken
away, it should be restored, Governor Carver agreeing to the same in
reference to his party.

3. The Governor agreed that if any Indian tribe should wage an unjust
war against Massasoit, he would help him; Massasoit agreeing in the
same way to aid the Pilgrims, should they be assailed.

4. Massasoit pledged himself to send word to all his confederate tribes
that he had entered into this alliance with the white men, and to
enjoin its faithful observance upon them.

5. Finally, it was agreed that whenever any of the Indians visited the
settlement of the white men, they should leave their arms behind them.
The Pilgrims were also bound always to go unarmed whenever they should
visit the residence of the Indian chief.

As evening approached, Massasoit and his followers withdrew. The
Governor accompanied him to the brook, where they embraced and
separated. The six Indian hostages were retained until Mr. Winslow
should be returned. But soon word was brought that Quadequina wished to
make them a short visit. He soon appeared, with quite a troop around
him. He was a young man, tall, modest and gentlemanly. He was also
conducted, with music of drum and fife, to the Governor. He seemed
very much afraid of the muskets; and to calm his manifest fears they
were laid aside. After a short interview he returned to the hill,
and Mr. Winslow came back to the camp. The Indian hostages were also
then released. The scenes of the day had inspired them with so much
confidence in the Pilgrims that two of them wished to remain all night.
But Captain Standish did not deem it prudent to grant their request.

Samoset and Squantum remained with the Pilgrims. Massasoit withdrew
his party from the hill, about half a mile south into the forest, and
there they encamped for the night. Their wives and children were with
them there. During the night both parties kept up a vigilant watch,
for neither had, as yet, full confidence in the other. In the morning
several of the Indians came into the settlement, according to their
agreement, unarmed. They said that in a few days they should come to
the other side of the brook and plant corn, and remain there with their
families all summer. The king sent an invitation to have some of the
Pilgrims visit him.

“Captain Standish and Israel Alderton,” writes Mourt, “went
venturously, who were welcomed of him after their manner. He gave them
three or four ground nuts and some tobacco. We cannot yet conceive
but that he is willing to have peace with us; for they have seen our
people sometimes alone, two or three in the woods, at work and fowling,
when they offered them no harm, as they might easily have done, and
especially as he has a potent adversary in the Narragansets, that are
at war with him, against whom he thinks we may be some strength to him,
for our pieces are terrible unto them.”

The English visitors remained in the encampment of Massasoit until
about eleven o’clock. Governor Carver sent by them to the chief
a kettleful of peas, which the Indians seemed to regard as truly
a princely gift. The next day, Friday, it was again pleasant.
Squantum, who with Samoset, still remained with the Pilgrims, went
to a neighboring creek, since appropriately called Eel River, and at
night came home with as many eels as he could carry. “They were fat
and sweet. He trod them out with his feet, and so caught them with
his hands, without any other instrument.” In a comparatively recent
history of Plymouth, it is stated that a hundred and fifty barrels of
eels are annually taken from that creek. The Pilgrims on that day held
a general meeting, to conclude some military arrangements, to enact
certain needful laws, and to choose a Governor for the year. The choice
fell, with apparently great unanimity, upon the then incumbent, Mr.
John Carver.

In Young’s Chronicle of the Pilgrims we find a note containing the
following statement: “It will be recollected that Carver had been
chosen Governor on the 11th of November, the same day on which the
Compact was signed. It was now the 23d of March, and the new year
commencing on the 25th, according to the calendar then in use, Carver
was re-elected for the ensuing year.”

Pleasant summer days now came, and glided rapidly away, with nothing
occurring of essential importance. Friendly relations were established
with the Indians, and the affairs of the colony seemed as prosperous
as, under the circumstances, could be expected. On the 5th of April the
Mayflower weighed anchor and set sail on her return voyage to England.
She had but one-half of the crew with which she had sailed from Old
Plymouth. The rest had fallen victims to the winter’s sickness. It is
remarkable that, notwithstanding the hardships to which the Pilgrims
were exposed, not one was disposed to abandon the enterprise and return
in the ship. When the Mayflower left, there remained in the colony but
fifty-five persons. Of these, nineteen only were men. The remaining
thirty-six were women, children and servants.

Scarcely had the ship disappeared over the distant horizon, ere
Governor Carver, “oppressed by his great care and pains for the common
good,” on one hot April noon returned from the field, complaining of
a severe pain in his head, probably caused by a sunstroke. He soon
became delirious, and, in a few days, died. It was a severe loss to the
colony, and they mourned over him with great lamentation and heaviness.
He was buried with all the imposing ceremonies of sorrow which the
feeble colony could arrange. His wife, overwhelmed with grief in view
of her terrible loss, in a few weeks followed her husband to the grave.
Soon after, Mr. William Bradford, who was then in a state of great
debility from his recent sickness, was chosen his successor.

The settlers, having no animals to draw the plough, were laboriously
opening the ground near their dwellings with the spade. Six acres they
sowed with barley and peas. Fortunately they had ten bushels of corn
for seed. With this they planted twenty acres, Squantum showing them
how to plant and hill it. Berries were found in abundance in the
woods, as the season advanced, and a very grateful supply of grapes.

Mr. Palfrey, in his admirable History of New England, writes very
pleasantly, “A visitor to Plymouth during this summer, as he landed, on
the southern side of a high bluff, would have seen, standing between it
and a rapid little stream, a rude house of logs, twenty feet square,
containing the common property of the plantation. Proceeding up a
gentle declivity, between two rows of log cabins, nineteen in number,
some of them, perhaps, vacant since the death of their first tenants,
he would have come to a hill surmounted with a platform for cannon.
He might have counted twenty men at work with hoes, in the enclosures
about the huts, or fishing in the shallow harbor, or visiting the woods
or beach for game; while six or eight women were busy in household
affairs, and some twenty children, from infancy upwards, completed the
domestic picture.”

All fears of famine seem now to have passed away. In addition to the
stores which they brought with them they had an abundant supply of
fish, wild fowls and native fruits. On the 18th of June two of the
servants of Mr. Hopkins undertook to fight a duel with sword and
dagger. Both were wounded. The Pilgrims met in a body to adjudge the
penalty for so serious an offense. They were sentenced to be tied
together, by their head and feet, and thus to lie twenty-four hours,
without meat or drink. The punishment was begun to be inflicted, “But
within an hour, because of their great pains, at their own and their
master’s humble request, upon promise of better carriage, they are
released by the Governor.”

Early in July, Governor Bradford decided to send a deputation to visit
Massasoit. There were several objects he wished to accomplish by this
mission. First, it was desirable to ascertain where he lived and what
his strength was. He also wished to honor Massasoit by paying him a
friendly visit. Another consideration of no little importance which
influenced him was, that vagabond Indians were increasingly in the
habit of coming with their wives and children, loitering about the
village to the great annoyance of the settlers, and clamoring for food,
which they devoured with the voracity of famished wolves.

Mr. Winslow and Mr. Hopkins, accompanied by Squantum as their
interpreter, were appointed for this important mission. Mr. Winslow
has transmitted to us a minute account of the interesting adventure.
They left the village, probably on Tuesday morning, July 3d, bearing
the following message to Massasoit, with the present of a brilliant
horseman’s coat, of red cotton, gaudily laced.

“Inasmuch as your subjects come often and without fear, upon all
occasions amongst us, so we are now come unto you. In witness of the
love and good will the English bear you, our Governor has sent you a
coat, desiring that the peace and amity between us may be continued;
not that we fear you, but because we intend not to injure any one,
desiring to live peaceably, as with all men, so especially with you our
nearest neighbors.

“But whereas your people come very often, and very many together, unto
us, bringing for the most part their wives and children with them, they
are welcome. Yet we being but strangers, as yet, at Patuxet, or New
Plymouth, and not knowing how our corn may prosper, can no longer give
them such entertainment as we have done, and as we desire still to do.
Yet if you will be pleased to come yourself, or any special friend of
yours desires to see us, coming from you, they shall be welcome.

“And to the end that we may know them from others, our Governor has
sent you a copper chain, desiring that if any messenger should come
from you to us, we may know him by his bringing it with him, and may
give credit to his message accordingly.”

They then added the following, which we record with pleasure, as
showing the conscientiousness of these remarkable men:

“At our first arrival at Paomet, called by us Cape Cod, we found there
corn buried in the ground, and finding no inhabitants, but some graves
of the dead newly buried, took the corn, resolving that if ever we
could hear of any that had right thereunto, to make satisfaction to the
full for it. Yet since we understand the owners thereof had fled, for
fear of us, our desire is either to pay them with the like quantity of
corn, or with English meal, or any other commodities we have, which
they may desire. We request that some of your men may signify so much
unto them, and we will content him for his pains.

“Last of all, our Governor requested one favor of him, which was that
he would exchange some of their corn for seed, with us, that we might
make trial which was best agreed with the soil where we live.”

It was a warm and sunny day when the two Pilgrims, with their Indian
guide, set out on their adventurous journey through the forest. The
Indians, in their movements from place to place, however numerous the
party, always went, with moccasined feet, in single file, one following
after the other. The forests were threaded with many of these narrow
paths, or trails, which had thus been trodden by them through countless
generations. These paths were as well known by them, and almost as
distinctly marked, as the paved roads of the Old World which had
resounded with the tramp of the Roman legions. Indian instinct had,
ages ago, selected these routes, often through glooms which no rays
of the sun ever penetrated, and again through scenes of marvellous
picturesque beauty, beneath frowning mountains, along the margin of
crystal lakes, and upon the banks of sparkling rivulets.

Much to the annoyance of the two Pilgrims appointed upon this mission
a party of ten or twelve lazy Indians, men, women and children,
uninvited, persistently tagged after them, often very vexatiously
intrusive, and ever clamorous to share their food.

The first day they travelled about fifteen miles, to an Indian
village called Namasket. It was situated upon a branch of what is now
called the Taunton River, within the limits of the present town of

“Thither we came,” writes Mr. Winslow, “about three o’clock after noon;
the inhabitants entertaining us with joy, in the best manner they
could, giving us a kind of bread called by them _maizium_,[12] and the
spawn of shads, which they then got in abundance, insomuch that they
gave us spoons to eat them. With these they boiled musty acorns; but of
the shads we ate heartily.”

These Indians had probably all heard of the wonderful power of the
muskets of the white men, though, perhaps, none of them had ever seen
the effects accomplished by powder and ball. The crows troubled their
corn fields, and it was almost impossible for the Indians to get near
enough to these wary animals to hit them with the arrow. They begged
their guests to show them the power of their guns by shooting some
of these crows. There was one upon a tree at the distance of about
two hundred and forty feet. With intense interest the Indians watched
as they saw one of the Pilgrims take deliberate aim at the bird, and
when they heard the report, and saw the bird fall dead, struck by an
invisible shaft, their astonishment passed all bounds. Several crows
were thus shot, exciting the admiration and awe of all the savage

As Squantum told the Pilgrims that it was more than a day’s journey
from Namasket to Pokanoket, or Mount Hope, where Massasoit resided, and
that there was a good place to pass the night about eight miles further
on their way, they decided to resume their journey. About sunset
they reached a small group of Indians at a place now called Titicut,
on Taunton River, in the northwest part of Middleborough, adjoining

Here quite an attractive region presented itself to their eyes. The
land on both sides of the river had long been cleared, being entirely
free from trees or stumps, and had evidently waved with cornfields.
There were many indications that the place had formerly been quite
thickly inhabited. The plague, of which we have spoken, it is said, had
swept every individual into the grave. A few wandering outcast Indians
had come to this depopulated region to take fish. By means of a wear
in the river, which consisted of a sort of net or fence, constructed
of branches of trees and twigs, they caught an abundance of bass. They
had not erected any shelter for themselves, but were sleeping, like the
cattle, in the open air. These wretched savages had no food but fish
and roasted acorns. Very greedily they partook of the stores which the
Pilgrims brought with them. Liberally they were fed, “we not doubting,”
writes Mr. Winslow, “but that we should have enough where’er we came.”

The Pilgrims lodged that night in the open fields. The next morning,
at an early hour, after such frugal breakfast as the occasion could
furnish, they set out again upon their journey. Six savages followed
them. Having travelled about six miles, following down the banks of the
river, they came to a shoal place, where the stream could be forded.
This was undoubtedly at a spot now called Squabetty, three and a half
miles from Taunton Green.

“Here,” writes Mr. Winslow, “let me not forget the valor and courage of
some of the savages on the opposite side of the river; for there were
remaining alive only two men, both aged, especially the one being about
threescore. These two, espying a company of men entering the river,
ran very swiftly, and low in the grass, to meet us at the bank, where,
with shrill voices and great courage, standing, they charged upon us
with their bows, demanding who we were, supposing us to be enemies,
and thinking to take advantage of us in the water. But seeing we were
friends, they welcomed us with such food as they had, and we bestowed a
small bracelet of beads upon them.”

Here, after refreshing themselves, they continued their journey down
the western banks of the river. It was a very sultry July day, but the
country was beautiful, and abundantly watered with innumerable small
streams, and cool, bubbling springs. The savages would never drink of
the flowing brooks, but only at the spring heads. Very pleasantly Mr.
Winslow writes in reference to the amiability and obliging disposition
of these savages:

“When we came to any brook where no bridge was, two of them desired
to carry us through, of their own accord. Also, fearing that we were
or would be weary, they offered to carry our pieces. If we would lay
off any of our clothes, we should have them carried. And as the one
of them had found more special kindness from one of the messengers,
and the other savage from the other, so they showed their thankfulness
accordingly, in affording us all help and furtherance in the journey.”

It was very manifest to the travellers, as we have said, that they
were passing through a country which once had been crowded with a
population which but recently had been swept away. There were widely
extended fields, which had formerly been planted with corn, where there
was then to be seen but a rank growth of weeds, higher than a man’s
head. The region was pleasantly diversified with hills and plains,
often presenting extended forests of the most valuable timber. It was
a very noticeable and beautiful feature in these forests, that they
were entirely free of underbrush, presenting the aspect of the most
carefully-trimmed English park. Mr. Wood, who visited this region in
year 1633, writes:

“Whereas it is generally conceived that the woods grow so thick that
there is no more clear ground than is hewed out by labor of men, it
is nothing so; in many places divers acres being clear, so that one
may ride a hunting in most places of the land. There is no underwood,
saving in swamps and low grounds; for, it being the custom of the
Indians to burn the woods in November, when the grass is withered and
leaves dried, consumes all the underwood and rubbish, which otherwise
would overgrow the country, making it impassable, and spoil their
much-affected hunting. So that in these places there is scarce a bush
or bramble or any cumbersome underwood to be seen in the more champaign

Hour after hour they journeyed on through these lonely fields, without
meeting an individual. At length one solitary Indian was espied in
the distance. The Indians, who accompanied the Pilgrims, seemed much
alarmed, from fear that he might be one of the Narraganset tribe, with
whom Massasoit was then at war, and that there might be more of the
Narragansets near at hand. The Pilgrims, however, bade them not to
fear, assuring them that, with their guns, they should not hesitate
to meet twenty of the foe. The savage was hailed. He proved to be
a friend, having two women with him. The two parties interchanged
courtesies, ate and drank together, and separated, well pleased with
each other.

Soon after this they met another Indian, also accompanied by two women.
They had been at a rendezvous, by a salt water creek, and had some
baskets full of roasted crabs and other small shell-fish. They, also,
in oriental fashion, ate and drank together, in token of friendship.
The women were made very happy by a present each of a string of beads,
as brilliant in their eyes as the priceless jewels of the crown to
any European queen. “There is but one step between the sublime and
the ridiculous.” The step is equally short between the court-dress of
an European monarch and his jeweled queen, and that of the feathered
Indian warrior and his beaded squaw.

Continuing their journey, they soon reached one of the small towns of
Massasoit. This was probably Mattapoiset, now known as Gardner’s Neck,
in Swansey. They were hospitably received here, and fed with oysters
and other fish.

The latter part of the afternoon they reached Pokanoket, on the
northern shore of Narraganset Bay. The capital of the Indian monarch,
which they had thus entered, was about forty miles from Plymouth. The
spot where the little cluster of wigwams stood, was probably Sowams,
in the present town of Warren. We cannot better describe the interview
which took place, than in the language of Mr. Winslow:

“Massasoit was not at home. There we stayed, he being sent for. When
news was brought of his coming, our guide, Squantum, requested that, at
our meeting, we would discharge our pieces. But one of us going about
to discharge his piece, the women and children, through fear to see him
take up his piece, ran away, and could not be pacified till he laid it
down again; who afterwards were better informed by our interpreter.

“Massasoit being come, we discharged our pieces and saluted him; who,
after their manner, kindly welcomed us, and took us into his house and
set us down by him; where, having delivered our foresaid message and
presents, and having put the coat on his back, and the chain about his
neck, he was not a little proud to behold himself, as were his men
also, to see their king so bravely attired.

“In answer to our message, he told us we were welcome, and he would
gladly continue that peace and friendship which was between him and us.
As for his men, they should no longer pester us as they had done. He
would also send us corn for seed, according to our request.

“This being done, his men gathered near to him, to whom he turned
himself and made a great speech; they sometimes interposing, and, as it
were, confirming and applauding him in that he said.”

In this harangue the king enumerated thirty towns or villages over
which his sovereignty was recognized; and enjoined it upon his people
ever to live in peace with the white men, and to carry to them furs for

“This being ended he lighted tobacco for us, and fell to discoursing
of England and of the King’s Majesty, marvelling that he would live
without a wife.[13] Also he talked of the Frenchmen, bidding us not to
suffer them to come to Narraganset, for it was King James’s country,
and he was King James’s man. Late it grew, but victuals he offered us
none; for, indeed, he had not any, he being so newly come home. So we
desired to go to rest. He laid us on the bed with himself and his wife,
they at the one end and we at the other, it being only planks laid a
foot from the ground, and a thin mat upon them. Two more of his chief
men, for want of room, pressed by and upon us, so that we were worse
weary of our lodging than of our journey.

“The next day being Thursday, many of their _sachems_, or petty
governors, came to see us, and many of their men also. There they went
to their manner of games for skins and knives. We challenged them to
shoot with us for skins, but they durst not; only they desired one of
us to shoot at a mark, who, shooting with hail-shot, they wondered to
see the mark so full of holes.

“About one o’clock Massasoit brought two fishes that he had shot. They
were like bream, but three times as big, and better meat.[14] These,
being boiled, there were at least forty looked for share in them. The
most ate of them. This meal only we had in two nights and a day. And
had not one of us bought a partridge we had taken our journey fasting.

“Very importunate he was to have us stay with him longer. But we
desired to keep the Sabbath at home, and feared that we should either
be lightheaded for want of sleep, for what with bad lodging, the
savage’s barbarious singing, for they use to sing themselves asleep,
lice and fleas within doors, and mosquitoes without, we could hardly
sleep all of the time of our being there; we much fearing that if we
should stay any longer we should not be able to recover home for want
of strength. So that on Friday morning, before sun-rising, we took our
leave and departed, Massasoit being both grieved and ashamed that he
could no better entertain us.”

Their journey home was a weary one. They commenced it hungry, and
without any supply of food for the way. Squantum and five other
Indians accompanied them, who were accustomed to the hardships of the
wilderness, and knew how to obtain food if there were roots or berries,
game or fish anywhere within reach. When they arrived at Mattapoiset,
the friendly but half-starved Indians there refreshed them with a
small fish, a handful of parched corn, and a few clams. The clams they
gave to their six Indians, reserving for themselves only the little
fish and the handful of meal, which by no means satiated their craving
appetites. The Indians led them five miles out of their way, with the
hope of obtaining food, but they found the place abandoned and no food

Hungry and weary they toiled along, and that night reached the wear
at Titicut, on Taunton River. Here again they found famine. But one
of the hospitable savages, who had speared a shad, and shot a small
squirrel, gave half to the nearly famished travellers. In this starving
condition they sent one of the Indians forward to Plymouth, imploring
their brethren immediately to send an Indian runner to meet them at
Namasket with food. Fortunately that evening a large number of fishes
were caught in the wear, so that they feasted abundantly upon roasted
fish, and their fatigue enabled them to sleep soundly in the open air.
In the morning, after another ample breakfast of roasted fish, which
their good appetites rendered palatable, they set out again upon their

About two o’clock in the morning it had commenced raining with great
violence, accompanied with thunder and lightning. The fire which the
Pilgrims had built to keep their feet warm was extinguished, and,
drenched with the rain and shivering with cold, they must have suffered
severely had not their great fatigue rendered them almost insensible
to the exposure. The storm of wind and rain raged unabated through the
day. But they toiled on, wet and weary, until, a little after noon,
they reached Namasket. Here they found the provisions which their
companions had sent them from Plymouth. Liberally they rewarded all
who had shown them any kindness by the way. At night they reached
home, wet, weary and footsore. They had been absent five days, leaving
Plymouth Tuesday morning, and returning home Saturday evening, having
spent Thursday with the renowned Indian monarch Massasoit.



_Exploring Tours._

  The Lost Boy.--The Expedition to Nauset.--Interesting Adventures.--
      The Mother of the Kidnapped Indians.--Tyanough.--Payment for
      the Corn.--Aspinet, the Chief.--The Boy Recovered.--Alarming
      Intelligence.--Hostility of Corbitant.--The Friendship of
      Hobbomak.--Heroic Achievement of Miles Standish.--The Midnight
      Attack.--Picturesque Spectacle.--Results of the Adventure.
      Visit to the Massachusetts.--The Squaw Sachem.--An Indian
      Fort.--Charming Country.--Glowing Reports.

We have before spoken of the notorious John Billington and his
ungovernable family. His boy John, the same one who came so near
causing the Mayflower to be blown up with gunpowder, got lost in the
woods. The search to find him was unavailing. At last news came that he
had, after wandering five days in the woods, living upon berries, been
picked up by the Nauset Indians, the same who had attacked the Pilgrims
at the First Encounter. Following an Indian trail he had reached a
small Indian village, called Manomet, in the present town of Sandwich,
about twenty miles south of Plymouth. The Indians treated him kindly,
and took him with them still further down the Cape to Nauset, in the
present town of Barnstable.

Massasoit sent word to Governor Carver where he was, and an expedition
of ten men was immediately fitted out, in the shallop, to bring him
back. It was a beautiful day, the latter part of July, when the boat
sailed from Plymouth harbor on this short trip. They had not, however,
been many hours at sea ere a tempest arose with vivid lightning and
heavy peals of thunder. They ran, for shelter, into a place called
Cummaquit, which was doubtless Barnstable harbor. Squantum and another
Indian, by the name of Tokamahamon, accompanied them, as interpreters
and aids.

It was night before they reached the harbor and cast anchor. The
receding tide left them dry upon the flats. In the morning they saw
several savages, on the shore, seeking for shell-fish. The two Indian
interpreters were sent to communicate with them. They returned stating
that the boy was well, but that he was several miles further down the
Cape, at Nauset. The Indians also invited the white men to come on
shore and eat with them. As soon as the returning tide floated the
boat they drew near to the shore, and, cautiously taking four unarmed
Indians on board as hostages, six of the voyagers landed. Here they had
a very pleasant interview with the sachem, or chief of the tribe, a
young man, by the name of Tyanough, but twenty-six years of age. He was
very hospitable, and seemed to have but little of the savage in his
nature. They describe him as “very personable, gentle, courteous and
fair conditioned.”

They met here with an aged Indian woman whom they judged to be not less
than one hundred years old. She had never before seen a white man. As
soon as she saw the English she burst into a convulsive fit of weeping.
It appeared that she had three sons who had been lured on board the
ship of the infamous Captain Hunt and kidnapped. They were carried off
to Spain, and she had never heard any tidings from them. The Pilgrims
spoke all the words of comfort to the poor bereaved mother which they
could, assuring her that Captain Hunt was a very wicked man, whom God
would punish; that all the English condemned him for his crime, and
that they would not be guilty of the like wickedness for all the skins
the country could afford. They made her some presents which quite
cheered her.

After dinner they re-embarked, on such friendly terms with the natives
that the chief and two of his men went on board with them to accompany
them on the way. It was in the evening twilight when they reached
Nauset, and the tide was out. The savages here seemed to be very
numerous, and they crowded the shore. It is supposed that the point
which they had reached here was in the present town of Eastham. The
shallop touched the flats at quite a distance from the land. Tyanough,
the chief of the Cummaquit Indians, and his two men, waded over the
wet and sandy flats to the beach. Squantum accompanied them, to inform
Aspinet, the chief of the Nauset Indians, of their object in coming.
The savages manifested great eagerness of cordiality, flocked out to
the boat, and expressed more than willingness to drag it over the flats
to the shore. But the Pilgrims would not allow this. They had not full
confidence in their sincerity. This was the same tribe which had so
fiercely assailed them in the First Encounter.

They, therefore, warned the Indians off, and with their weapons stood
guard, allowing but two to enter the boat. One of these was from
Manamoick, now Chatham, and was one of the owners of the corn which
the Pilgrims had taken. The Pilgrims received him with great kindness,
and assured him that if he would come to Plymouth they would repay him
abundantly, either in corn or other articles; or, if preferred, they
would send the payment to the Indians. He promised to come to Plymouth.

Just after sunset Aspinet appeared upon the shore, leading the boy,
and accompanied by a train of nearly one hundred men. Fifty of these,
unarmed, came wading through the water to the side of the shallop,
bringing the boy with them. The other fifty remained at a little
distance, armed with bows and arrows, ready to meet any hostile
demonstration. In token of peace, and of his desire to cherish
friendly relations with the English, Aspinet had decorated the boy
with Indian ornaments. The Pilgrims here received also the rather
alarming intelligence that Massasoit had been defeated in a battle
with the Narragansets. Seven men only had been left for the protection
of the colony. It was feared that the hostile Narragansets might make
an attack upon them. It therefore appears that as soon as the tide
came in, that very night, they spread their sails for home. They made
Aspinet the present of a knife, and also gave a knife to the Indian who
first found the boy and protected him.

The route which they had followed along the shore was so circuitous
that they estimated that they had reached a point eighty miles from
Plymouth. The wind was contrary and their progress was slow. When
they reached Cummaquit they put in ashore for water. Here they found
Tyanough, who, having returned by land, had reached the place before
them. The obliging chief took their water cask upon his own shoulders
and led them a long distance through the dark to a spring of not very
sweet water. The shallop was anchored near the shore. The Indian women,
in manifestation of their good will, sang and danced upon the beach,
clasping hands.

Again they set sail, still encountering contrary winds, but at length
they reached their home in safety. Soon after their return, they
learned that the defeat of Massasoit was more disastrous than had at
first been reported. It seems that a portion of the Indians were much
opposed to any friendly relations with the white men, and wished for
the extermination of the colony. An Indian by the name of Hobbomak, who
was chief of one of the minor tribes, had now strongly allied himself
to the English. Consequently he and Squantum were peculiarly obnoxious
to those of the savages who remained unfriendly.

One of Massasoit’s petty chieftains, named Corbitant, led the hostile
party. He was an audacious, insolent fellow, residing in the present
town of Middleborough, at a point on the Namasket River just above
the bridge, which passes from the Green to the Four Corners, on
the Plymouth road. This man endeavored to excite a revolt against
Massasoit, assailing the Pilgrims with the most opprobrious language,
and storming at the peace which had been made with them by Massasoit
and the tribes on the Cape. It seemed also that he was entering into
an alliance with the Narraganset Indians against Massasoit and the

Hobbomak was a war captain among the Wampanoags, and was greatly
beloved by Massasoit. With Squantum he set out on a journey to visit
Massasoit, with inquiries and words of cheer from the Pilgrims.
They were intercepted on their way by Corbitant, and both captured.
Hobbomak, being a very powerful man, broke away and escaped. The next
day, breathless and terrified, he reached Plymouth, reporting what had
happened. On their journey they had entered a wigwam at Namasket, when
suddenly the hut was surrounded by a band of armed savages. Corbitant
himself, brandishing a knife, approached Squantum to kill him, saying,
“When Squantum is dead the English will have lost their tongue.” Just
then Hobbomak escaped, and, outrunning his pursuers, reached Plymouth,
not knowing the fate of his companion.

These were sad tidings, indicating that a very perilous storm was
gathering. Governor Bradford immediately assembled all the men of
the colony to decide what was to be done. After earnest prayer and
deliberation, they were united in the opinion that, should they suffer
their friends and allies to be thus assailed with impunity, none of the
Indians, however kindly disposed, would dare to enter into friendly
relations with them. They therefore resolved to send ten men, one-half
of their whole number, under Captain Standish, with Hobbomak as their
guide, to seize Corbitant and avenge the outrage. Never did a heroic
little band set out upon a more chivalric adventure.

The morning of the 14th of August was dark and stormy. Regardless of
wind and rain Captain Standish led his valiant companions in single
file through the narrow and dripping paths of the forest. It was late
in the afternoon when they reached a secluded spot within four miles of
Namasket. Here they concealed themselves that they might suddenly fall
upon their foe in the darkness of night. Cautiously Captain Standish,
who was alike prudent and intrepid, led his band. Every man received
minute instructions as to the part he was to perform. The night was
so dark, with clouds and driving rain, that they could hardly see a
hand’s breadth before them. They lost their way, and after groping for
some time in the tangled thickets, happily again found their trail. It
was after midnight when, wet and weary, they arrived within sight of
the glimmering fires of Namasket. After silently refreshing themselves
from their knapsacks they crept along to the large wigwam, where they
supposed that Corbitant, surrounded by several of his warriors, was
sleeping. The darkness of the night and the wailings of the storm
caused even the wary Indians to be deaf to their approach.

“At a signal, two muskets were fired to terrify the savages, and
Captain Standish, with three or four men, rushed into the hut. The
ground floor, dimly lighted by some dying embers, was covered with
sleeping Indians, men, women, and children. A scene of indescribable
consternation and confusion ensued. Through Hobbomak, Captain Standish
ordered every Indian to remain in the wigwam, assuring them that he had
come for Corbitant, the murderer of Squantum, and that, if he were not
there, no one else should be injured.

“But the savages, terrified by the midnight surprise, and by the report
of the muskets, were bereft of reason. Many of them endeavored to
escape, and were severely wounded by the Pilgrims in their attempts
to stop them. The Indian boys, seeing that the Indian women were not
molested, ran around, frantically exclaiming, ‘I am a girl! I am a

“At last order was restored, and it was found that Corbitant was not
there, but that he had gone off, with all his train, and that Squantum
was not killed. A bright fire was now kindled, that the hut might
be carefully searched. Its blaze illuminated one of the wildest of
imaginable scenes. The wigwam, spacious and rudely constructed of
boughs, mats and bark; the affrighted savages, men, women and children,
in their picturesque dress and undress, a few with ghastly wounds,
faint and bleeding; the bold colonists, in their European dress and
armor; the fire blazing in the centre of the hut, all combined to
present a scene such as few eyes have ever witnessed.”[15]

By this time all the inmates of the adjoining wigwams were aroused.
Hobbomak, in the darkness, climbed to the top of the wigwam and shouted
aloud for Squantum. In his response to his well-known voice, Squantum
soon appeared. Captain Standish deprived all the Indian warriors of
their bows and arrows, and having established a watch, sought such
repose as they could find until morning.

Many of these Indians were friendly to the English, and they, with
the earliest light of the morning, gathered around Captain Standish.
The hostile Indians, who belonged to the faction of Corbitant, fled
during the night. It seemed, however, that a majority were disposed to
be friendly, for a large group gathered around Captain Standish, with
pledges of their good will. He addressed them in words of conciliation,
and yet of firmness, assuring them that, though Corbitant had for the
present escaped, if he continued his hostility he could find no retreat
from the avenging hand of the white man. He also assured them that if
the Narragansets continued their assaults upon Massasoit or upon any
of his subjects, the white men would punish them by the utter overthrow
of their tribe. He expressed much regret that any of the Indians had
been wounded, but told them that it was their own fault, as he had
assured them that they should not be harmed if they would remain in the
hut. He also offered to take home with him any who were wounded, that
they might be carefully nursed. Two of the wounded availed themselves
of this offer. The surgeon of the Pilgrim company, Mr. Samuel Fuller,
tenderly cared for them.

Captain Standish led his triumphant little band back, accompanied by
Squantum, and many other friendly Indians. The heroic achievement
taught the friendly Indians that they could rely upon the protection
of the white men, and was a loud warning to those who were disposed
to be hostile. The enterprise occupied but two days. As the result of
this adventure, many Sachems sent in the expression of their desire to
enter into a friendly alliance with the Pilgrims. Corbitant himself
was frightened by such an exhibition of energy, and by his own narrow
escape. He sought reconciliation through the intercession of Massasoit,
and subsequently signed a treaty of submission and friendship. Even
Canonicus, the hostile and warlike chief of the Narragansets, sent an
embassy to Plymouth, not improbably as spies, but with the professed
object of treating for peace. The friendship of Massasoit, and his
influence over the chiefs of the smaller tribes, contributed much to
this happy result.

The Blue Hills of Milton were then called Mount Massachusetts. Many
rumors had reached the colonists that the tribes residing in that
vicinity, about forty miles north from Plymouth, were very unfriendly,
had uttered many threats, and were preparing for hostile measures. The
Pilgrims decided to send an expedition to that region, to establish, if
possible, friendly relations with the natives, and they also wished to
examine the country.

Captain Miles Standish was, of course, the one to be entrusted with the
command of the important enterprise. He took a party in the shallop, of
nine of the colonists, and three Indians, as interpreters, one of whom
was Squantum. They set sail at midnight, in consequence of the favoring
tide. It was Tuesday morning, the 18th of September, O. S. A gentle
southerly breeze pressed their sails, and they glided over a smooth sea
until they reached a point which they estimated to be about sixty miles
from the port which they had left. As they had been informed that the
tribes were numerous and warlike, as well as unfriendly, and it was a
mild autumnal night, Captain Standish did not deem it prudent to land,
but they all remained until morning in the boat.

They had entered a bay, which was doubtless Boston harbor, and anchored
but a short distance from a cliff, which some have supposed to have
been Copp’s Hill, at the north end of Boston. This cliff rose about
fifty feet from the water, and presented a precipitous front on the
seaward shore.

The next morning they put in for the shore and landed.[16] Here they
found quite a quantity of lobsters which the savages had collected, but
for some unknown reason had left. Captain Standish, with characteristic
prudence, left three men to guard the shallop, and stationed two as
sentinels, in a commanding position on the shore, to give warning
of any appearance of danger. Then, with characteristic enterprise
and courage, taking four men with him, and an Indian as guide and
interpreter, he entered one of the well-trodden trails of the forest
and pressed forward in search of the habitations of the Indians. It
was a bold deed; for, though they had guns, a hundred Indian warriors,
shooting their barbed arrows from behind trees, would soon lay them all
weltering in blood.

They had not gone far before they met an Indian woman who, it seems,
owned some of the lobsters, and was going to the shore to get them.
But the colonists had feasted upon the savory food. They paid the
woman, however, abundantly, to her entire satisfaction. She informed
them that the small tribe to which she belonged, and whose chieftain’s
name was Obbatinewat, resided in a village a little farther along the
coast. They therefore sent Squantum forward to the Indian village to
inform Obbatinewat that the Pilgrims were coming to make him a friendly
visit. Captain Standish returned to the shallop to continue their
voyage to the settlement.

It required but a short sail. The Indian chief and his people, being
prepared for their coming, received them kindly. It is a remarkable
fact that the chief of the Massachusett tribe, probably the most
powerful tribe then in these borders, was a woman--a squaw. Upon
the death of her husband, Nanepashemet, she had been recognized as
his successor. She was known as the Squaw Sachem, and was at war
with Obbatinewat. Captain Standish offered his services to promote
reconciliation. This was certainly magnanimous, for according to the
principles of selfish worldly policy, it would have seemed expedient
to keep the tribes warring against each other, thus to prevent their
combining against the Pilgrims, and thus enabling the Pilgrims to
retain what is called the balance of power. But Miles Standish, a
straightforward, honest man, scorned all such arts of expediency.

Obbatinewat resided near the bottom of the inner Massachusetts Bay. He
was ever trembling in view of the incursions of a powerful tribe of
Indians, who resided on the Kennebec, the Penobscot, and other rivers
of Maine. They came in great numbers in time of harvest, robbing them
of their corn and committing all manner of savage outrages.

Very gladly Obbatinewat, who seems to have been an amiable,
peace-loving man, availed himself of the friendly offer of Captain
Standish, and, with some of his people, accompanied him in the
shallop across the harbor, it is supposed from Quincy to what is now
Charlestown, to visit the squaw sachem. Mr. Winslow describes the visit
in the following words:

“Again we crossed the bay, which is very large, and hath at least fifty
islands in it; but the certain number is not known to the inhabitants.
Night it was before we came to that side of the bay where this people
were. On shore the savages went, but found nobody. That night also we
rode at anchor aboard the shallop.

“On the morrow we went ashore, all but two men, and marched, in arms,
up in the country. Having gone three miles we came to a place where
corn had been newly gathered, a house pulled down, and the people
gone. A mile from hence Nanepashemet, their king, in his lifetime, had
lived. His house was not like others: but a scaffold was largely built
with poles and planks, some six feet from the ground, and the house
upon that, being situated on the top of a hill.

“Not far from here, in a bottom, we came to a fort, built by their
deceased king; the manner thus: There were poles, some thirty or forty
feet long, stuck in the ground as thick as they could be set one by
another. With these they enclosed a ring, some thirty or forty feet
long. A trench, breast-high, was digged on each side. One way there was
to go into it with a bridge. In the midst of this palisade stood the
frame of a house, wherein, being dead, he lay buried.

“About a mile from here we came to such another, but seated on the top
of a hill. Here Nanepashemet was killed; none dwelling in it since the
time of his death. At this place we staid, and sent for two savages to
look for the inhabitants, and to inform them of our ends in coming,
that they might not be fearful of us. Within a mile of this place
they found the women of the place together, with their corn on heaps,
whither we supposed them to have fled for fear of us; and the more,
because in divers places they had newly pulled down their houses, and
for haste, in one place, had left some of their corn, covered with a
mat, and nobody with it.

“With much fear they entertained us, at first; but seeing our gentle
carriage towards them, they took heart, and entertained us in the best
manner they could, boiling cod and such other things as they had for
us. At length, with much sending for, came one of their men, shaking
and trembling for fear. But when he saw we intended them no hurt, but
came to truck, he promised us his skins also. Of him we inquired for
their queen. It seemed that she was far from thence. At least we could
not see her.

“Here Squantum would have had us rifle the savage women, and take their
skins and all such things as might be serviceable for us; for, said he,
they are a bad people, and have often threatened you. But our answer
was, ‘Were they never so bad, we would not wrong them, or give them any
just occasion against us. For their words we little weighed them; but
if they once attempted any thing against us, then we would deal far
worse than he desired.”

Having passed the day thus pleasantly, they returned to the shallop.
Nearly all the women accompanied them. The Indians had quite a quantity
of beaver skins, from which very comfortable garments were made. The
Pilgrims were eager to purchase these skins, and the Indian women were
so eager to obtain, in exchange for them, such articles as the English
had to dispose of, that we are told “they sold their coats from their
backs, and tied boughs about them, but with great shamefacedness, for
indeed they are more modest than some of our English women are.”

The savages reported that there were two rivers emptying into the bay,
the Mystic and the Charles. The Pilgrims, however, saw but one, and
they had not time to explore even that. They saw evidences that most
of the islands in the harbor had been inhabited, having been cleared,
and prepared for corn from end to end. But they were now desolate, the
plague having swept the whole of their populations into the grave. The
food of the exploring party becoming scarce, and there being a bright
moon and a fair wind, they set sail in the evening, and by noon of
the next day, Saturday, September 22d, they reached home, having been
absent four days. Mr. Winslow was one of the party, and it is supposed
that he wrote the account from which we have quoted.

The adventurers brought back so glowing a report of the harbor, with
its beautiful and fertile islands, the rivers and the rich soil, that
the colonists quite regretted that they had not found that spot for
their settlement. “The country of the Massachusetts,” said they, “is
the paradise of all those parts, for here are many isles, all planted
with corn, groves, mulberries and savage gardens.”

The summer had passed away with the Pilgrims very pleasantly and
prosperously. Friendly relations had been established with the Indians,
and a lucrative traffic opened in valuable furs. There had been no
want of provisions. Fishing had been successful, furnishing them with
an abundant supply of cod and bass. Water fowl, such as ducks and wild
geese, abounded, and the forests were filled with deer and turkeys. In
the autumn they gathered in a fine harvest of corn, and though they had
no mills to grind it, by hand-pounding they converted it into meal,
with which they made very palatable cakes. Thus amply supplied with
food, they made their houses more tight and comfortable, and gathered
their fuel for the winter fires. They wrote home such glowing letters
of their prosperity, that very many others were inspired with the
desire to join them. One of these letters, written by Edward Winslow,
will be given in the next chapter.


_Menaces of Famine and War._

  Arrival of the Fortune.--Object of the Pilgrims in their
      Emigration.--Character of the New-Comers.--Mr. Winslow’s
      Letter.--The First Thanksgiving.--Advice to Emigrants.--
      Christmas Anecdote.--Alarming Rumor.--The Narragansets.--
      Curious Declaration of War.--The Defiance.--Fortifying the
      Village.--The Meeting in Council and the Result.--The Alarm.--
      The Shallop Recalled.

Early in July of this year, 1621, the Fortune, a small vessel of
but fifty-five tons, which they called a ship, sailed from London
for the colony. There were thirty-five passengers on board, many of
whom appear to have been mere adventurers, emigrating to the New
World through restlessness, curiosity, or love of gain. The men of
this party outnumbered the devout Pilgrims who were still living at
Plymouth. Thus an influence was introduced to the colony quite adverse
to the religious element which had hitherto pervaded it. In Mr. Robert
Cushman’s “Relation of the Reasons for Emigrating from England to
America,” he writes:

“And first, seeing we daily pray for the conversion of the heathen,
we must consider whether there be not some ordinary means and course
for us to take to convert them; or whether prayer for them be only
referred to God’s extraordinary work from Heaven. Now it seemeth unto
me that we ought also to endeavor and use the means to convert them.
And the means cannot be used unless we go to them or they come to us.
To us they cannot come. Our land is full. To them we may go. Their land
is empty. This then is sufficient reason to prove our going thither to
live, lawful.”

The reckless men on board the Fortune, supposing that they should find
an ample supply of everything in the New World, took with them scarcely
provisions enough to last during the voyage. Contrary winds so retarded
their progress that they did not clear the English channel until the
end of August. It was not until the 9th of November that, in almost a
famishing condition, they cast anchor in the harbor at the extremity of
Cape Cod. Mr. Cushman, who had been left behind by the abandonment of
the Speedwell, was with this party. The Fortune entered Plymouth harbor
on the 23d of November. The Pilgrims were, of course, very happy to
welcome such a re-enforcement from home. They were not then aware of
the uncongenial elements of which it was composed. Mr. Bradford, in his
account of this event, writes:

“Most of them were lusty young men, and many of them wild enough, who
little considered whither or about what they went, till they came into
the harbor at Cape Cod, and there saw nothing but a naked and barren

“They then began to think what would become of them if the people here
were dead, or cut off by the Indians. They then began to consult upon
some speeches that some of the seamen had cast out, to take the sails
from the yards lest the ship should get away and leave them there. But
the master, hearing of it, gave them good words, and told them that if
anything but well should have befallen the people here, he hoped he had
victuals enough to carry them to Virginia; and that while he had a bit
they should have their parts; which gave them good satisfaction.”

These men were landed at Plymouth in a state of great destitution.
Of the thirty-five thus added to the colony twenty-seven were men.
The remainder were women and children. Some of these men constituted
a valuable addition to the colony; but others of them were utterly
worthless. They brought with them no food, no furniture, no domestic
utensils, no extra clothing; and, worst of all, no habits of industry
or established principles of industry.

The Fortune remained at Plymouth but about a fortnight, and on the 13th
of December commenced her return voyage. She took back, as freight,
various kinds of timber, sassafras, and beaver skins. The estimated
value of her cargo was about two thousand five hundred dollars. We
may mention, in passing, that England was then at war with France.
The Fortune, when near the coast of England, was captured by a French
cruiser, relieved of her cargo, and sent home.

It will be remembered that there were but seven families composing the
colony at the time of the arrival of the Fortune. The Governor disposed
of these destitute and half famished new-comers, in these families, as
best he could. The Pilgrims had, before this arrival, an ample supply
of food for the winter. But upon this unexpected doubling of their
number of hungry mouths, it was found, upon careful examination, that
their food was quite inadequate to meet their wants until another
harvest. The fishing season was over; the summer game was gone; the
harvest was all gathered in. There could be no more addition to their
supply of provisions for many months. There could be nothing obtained
from the Indians. The thoughtless creatures would themselves be hungry
before another summer should come. Under these circumstances the
Pilgrims, quite to their dismay, found it necessary to put the colony
upon half allowance of food.

Before the arrival of the Fortune they were rejoicing in abundance.
Now they found themselves upon the verge of famine. Mr. Edward Winslow
wrote a letter to Mr. George Morton, probably the “G. Mourt,” author
of the celebrated “Relation.” This letter was sent to England by the
Fortune, on her return voyage, and was dated the 21st of December,
1621. It was consequently written just a year after the arrival of the
Pilgrims. It gives a very glowing account of the prosperity of the
colony, for it was written before the facts were ascertained consequent
upon the irruption of the destitute adventurers in the Fortune. Its
statements can, of course, be relied upon, as coming from one of the
most illustrious of the Pilgrims, and one who had taken a conspicuous
part in the scenes which he describes. It was as follows:


“Although I received no letter from you by this ship,[17] yet forasmuch
as I know you expect the performance of my promise, which was to
write you truthfully and faithfully of all things, I have therefore,
at this time, sent unto you accordingly, referring you for further
satisfaction, to our large “Relations.”

“You shall understand that, in the little time that a few of us have
been here, we have built seven[18] dwelling houses, and four for the
use of the plantation, and have made preparation for divers others.
We set, the last spring, some twenty acres of Indian corn, and sowed
some six acres of barley and pease. And, according to the manner of the
Indians, we manured our ground with herrings, or rather shads, which
we have in great abundance, and take with great ease at our doors.[19]
Our corn did prove well; and, God be praised, we had a good increase of
Indian corn, and our barley indifferent good; but our pease were not
worth the gathering, for we feared they were too late sown. They came
up very well and blossomed, but the sun parched them in the blossom.

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor (Bradford) sent four men on
fowling, that so we might, after a special manner, rejoice together
after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day
killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company
almost a week. At which time, among other recreations, we exercised
our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and, among the
rest, their greatest king, Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for
three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed
five deer, which they brought to the plantation, and bestowed on our
Governor and the Captain, (Standish,) and others.”

In reference to this festival, we read, in the Life of Elder Brewster:
“The provisions for the little colony being secured for the ensuing
winter, their Governor set apart a day for public thanksgiving.
Accordingly, with the fruits of their labors, the thankful feast was
prepared, that all might, in a special manner, rejoice together, under
a grateful sense of these tokens of divine mercy. It was their first
thanksgiving or harvest festival in the New World. And we may well
conjecture what were the feelings and what the theme of the Elder
(Brewster), as, assembled in their Common House, he led the devotions
of these worshippers, and spoke to them words befitting the occasion.”

“We have found the Indians,” continues Mr. Winslow, “very faithful in
their covenant of peace with us; very loving and ready to pleasure us.
We often go to them and they come to us. Some of us have been fifty
miles by land in the country with them; the occasions and Relations
whereof you shall understand, by one general and more full declaration
of such things as are worth the noting. Yea, it hath pleased God so
to possess the Indians with a fear of us, and love unto us, that not
only the greatest king among them, called Massasoit, but also all the
princes and peoples round about us, have either made suit unto us,
or been glad of any occasion to make peace with us; so that seven of
them, at once, have sent their messengers to us to that end. Yea, an
isle,[20] at sea, which we never saw, hath also, together with the
former, yielded willingly to be under the protection, and subjects to
our sovereign lord, King James; so that there is now great peace among
the Indians themselves, which was not formerly, neither would have been
but for us.

“We, for our parts, walk as peaceably and safely in the woods as in
the highways of England. We entertain them familiarly in our houses,
and they as friendly bestow their venison upon us. They are a people
without any religion, or knowledge of any God,[21] yet very trusty,
quick of apprehension, ripe witted, just. The men and women go naked,
only a skin about their middles. For the temper of the air here, it
agreeth well with that of England. And if there be any difference at
all, this is somewhat hotter in summer. Some think it to be colder in
winter; but I cannot, out of experience, so say. The air is very clear
and not foggy, as hath been reported.

“I never in my life remember a more seasonable year than we have
here enjoyed. And if we have once but kine horses and sheep, I make
no question but men might live as contented here as in any part of
the world. For fish and fowl we have great abundance. Fresh cod in
summer is but coarse meat with us. Our bay is full of lobsters all the
summer, and affordeth variety of other fish. In September we can take a
hogshead of eels in a night, with small labor, and can dig them out of
their beds all the winter. We have muscles and clams[22] at our doors.
Oysters we have none near; but we can have them brought by the Indians
when we will. All the spring time the earth sendeth forth naturally
very good salid herbs.

“Here are grapes, white and red, and very sweet and strong also;
strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, etc.; plums of three sorts,
white, black and red, being almost as good as a damson; abundance of
roses, white, red and damask, single, but very sweet indeed.

“The country wanteth only industrious men to employ; for it would
grieve your hearts if, as I, you had seen so many miles together, by
goodly rivers, uninhabited, and withall to consider those parts of the
world wherein you live to be even greatly burdened with abundance of
people. These things I thought good to let you understand, being the
truth of things as near as I could experimentally take knowledge of,
and that you might on our behalf give God thanks who hath dealt so
favorably with us.

“Our supply of men from you came the 9th of November, 1621, putting
in at Cape Cod, some eight or ten leagues from us. The Indians, who
dwell thereabout, were they who were owners of the corn which we found
in caves, for which we have given them full content, and are in great
league with them. They sent us word there was a ship near unto them,
but thought it to be a Frenchman; and, indeed, ourselves, we expected
not a friend so soon.

“But when we perceived she made for our bay, the Governor commanded a
great piece to be shot off, to call home such as were abroad at work.
Whereupon every man, yea boy, that could handle a gun was ready, with
full resolution that, if she were an enemy, we would stand in our just
defense, not fearing them. But God provided better for them than we had
supposed. These came all in health, not any being sick by the way,
otherwise than by sea sickness, and so continue, at this time, by the
blessing of God.

“When it pleaseth God we are settled and fitted for the fishing
business and other trading, I doubt not but, by the blessing of God,
the grain will give content to all. In the mean time, that which we
have gotten we send by this ship; and though it be not much, yet
it will witness for us that we have not been idle, considering the
smallness of our number, all this summer.

“Now, because I expect your coming unto us,[23] with other of our
friends, whose company we much desire, I thought good to advise you
of a few things needful. Be careful to have a very good bread-room to
put your biscuits in. Let your cask for beer and water be iron-bound,
for the first tire, if not more. Let not your meat be dry salted; none
can better do it than the sailors. Let your meal be so hard trod in
your cask that you shall need an adz or hatchet to work it out with.
Trust not too much on us, for corn at this time, for by reason of this
last company that came, depending wholly upon us, we shall have little
enough till harvest.

“Be careful to come by some of your meal to spend by the way. It will
much refresh you. Build your cabins as open as you can, and bring good
store of clothes and bedding with you. Bring every man a musket or
fowling-piece. Let your piece be long in the barrel, and fear not the
weight of it, for most of our shooting is from stands. Bring juice of
lemon, and take it fasting; it is of good use. For hot waters, aniseed
water is the best; but use it sparingly. If you bring anything for
comfort in the country, butter or sallet oil, or both, is very good.
Our Indian corn, even the coarsest, maketh as pleasant meat as rice;
therefore spare that, unless to spend by the way. Bring paper and
linseed oil for your windows, with cotton yarn for your lamps. Let your
shot be most for big fowls, and bring store of powder and shot.”

The Pilgrims, it seems, had only oiled paper to keep out the storms of
a New England winter. Eight years after this, the arts had made such
progress that Mr. Higginson in the year 1629, in a letter addressed
from Salem to his friends in England writes, “Be sure to furnish
yourselves with glass for windows.” Indeed, glass windows were not
introduced into England until the year 1180. Then they were so costly
that none but the most wealthy could have them. Even in the time of
Henry VIII. they were considered a luxury which the common people could
not think of enjoying.

One of the passengers in the Fortune, Mr. William Hilton, in a letter
addressed to his friends at home, immediately after his arrival,
having written in glowing terms of the richness of the country and the
prospects of the colony, adds:

“We are all freeholders. The rent day doth not trouble us; and all
those good blessings we have of which and what we list in their seasons
for taking. Our company are, for the most part, very religious, honest
people. The word of God is sincerely taught to us every Sabbath; so
that I know not anything a contented mind can here want. I desire your
friendly care to send my wife and children to me, where I wish were all
the friends I have in England.”

Mr. Hilton’s family came in the next ship. Not only had the Fortune
brought no supply to the colonists, but they were compelled to take
from their own rapidly diminishing stores to supply the ship’s crew
with provisions for her return voyage. Another winter came. In the
absence of all domestic animals such as horses, mules, cows, oxen,
sheep, there was but little of the usual winter work of farmers
which remained for the Pilgrims to perform. Fishing, hunting and the
collection of fuel, which they drew with their own hands to their
doors, occupied the most of their time.

On Christmas day rather an amusing event occurred, which has been
recorded by Governor Bradford. In the papal church and with the common
people in England, Christmas had become a day of revelry, carousing
and drunkenness. Ostensibly set apart as a religious festival, the
depravity of man had so perverted it that, of all the days in the year,
Christmas was the one most utterly abandoned to wickedness. Under these
circumstances the Puritans, perhaps unwisely, deemed it expedient to
abolish the observance of the day altogether.

On the morning of Christmas day the Governor, as usual on other days,
went out with the Pilgrims of the Mayflower to their usual occupation
in the fields. But some of the new-comers, idle and frivolous, and
accustomed to the Christmas games of England, excused themselves from
going into the field, saying that their consciences would not allow
them to do any work on Christmas day.

The Governor replied that if it were a matter of conscience they might
certainly be excused,--that he did not wish that any persons in the
colony should have violence done to their religious convictions. He
therefore left these men at home, while he went, with the rest of the
colonists, to their daily toil. But when they returned at noon, they
found these scrupulous men, whose consciences would not allow them to
perform any useful labor on Christmas day, out in the streets engaged
in all manner of old country sports. They were pitching the bar,
playing ball, and engaged in games of petty gambling. Governor Bradford
went to them, and by virtue of his office, took away from them their
implements of gaming, saying:

“It is against my conscience that you should play while others work.
If your religious convictions constrain you to observe Christmas, you
should keep the day religiously, at home or in the church. But there
must be no gambling or revelry on that day.”

This settled the question, and there were no more demands for an idle
or riotous Christmas.

Soon after the departure of the Fortune, in the depth of winter,
painful rumors came that the powerful Narragansets, under their
redoubtable Chief, Canonicus, were assuming a threatening attitude.
The English had now about fifty men capable of bearing arms, and not a
large supply of ammunition. The Narragansets could bring against them
five thousand warriors. They occupied the region extending from the
western shores of Narraganset Bay to Pawcatuck River, and the tribe was
estimated to number about thirty thousand. The Pilgrims, all counted,
men, women and children, were less than one hundred in number. This was
a fearful cloud of war with which they thus found themselves menaced.

While such was the position of affairs, one day a strange Indian
entered the settlement. It soon appeared that he was a Narraganset.
He seemed not a little embarrassed, and enquired for Squantum, the
interpreter. It seemed some relief to him to learn that he was absent.
He then left for him a bundle of arrows, wrapped up in the skin of a
rattlesnake, and was hastily departing, when Governor Bradford, wishing
to know the significance of this strange conduct, ordered Captain
Standish to detain him. He was arrested and entrusted to the safe
keeping of Mr. Winslow and Mr. Hopkins. Captain Standish gave orders
that he should be treated with the utmost kindness, supplied with
everything he needed, and while assured that he should not be harmed,
Mr. Winslow and Mr. Hopkins should endeavor to obtain from him a full
and minute account of the object of his strange mission.

At first he was so terrified that he could scarcely speak a word.
But gradually regaining composure, he stated that the messenger who
had been sent to the Pilgrims in the summer with terms of peace,
had brought back such tidings of the weakness of the colony that
Canonicus was encouraged to seek its destruction; that he was angry
in consequence of the alliance of the colonists with his enemies, the
Wampanoags; that he professed to despise the meanness of the presents
sent to him by the Governor, and scorned to receive them; and that
the arrows and the rattlesnake skin were to be understood as his
declaration of war.

It is worthy of notice that this savage chieftain should have had
such a sense of honor as to send this warning to his foes, instead
of treacherously falling upon them when unprepared. And it is also
remarkable that this challenge should have been so similar to that
which, in ancient days, the Scythian prince sent to Darius, which
consisted of five arrows.

When the Governor and Captain Standish were informed of the results
of the interview, they justly regarded their captive as an innocent
messenger, whom, in accordance with all the laws of war, they were
to hold unharmed. They therefore, after offering him food, which he
refused to eat, set him at liberty, directing him to say to Canonicus,
that while they wished to live at peace with all men, and while they
had done him no harm, they were indignant in view of his threatenings,
had no fear of his power, and bade him defiance.

A violent storm was raging. But, notwithstanding the storm and the
entreaties of the Pilgrims, that he would remain with them until it
should abate, he refused to accept of their hospitality, and soon
disappeared, travelling with all speed through one of the trails of the
drenched and surging forest.

The Pilgrims held a council. It was deemed important that no timidity
whatever should be manifested, but that they should present a bold
front to their foes. In the mean time Squantum had returned to aid
them with his counsel. After some deliberation, they sent a friendly
Indian, as a messenger, to Canonicus, returning to him his rattlesnake
skin, filled with powder and bullets. This was a defiance which would
be understood. The superstitious savage chief was quite alarmed by
this response. Squantum, who appears to have been quite a meddling,
unscrupulous man, had declared to the Indians that the English had a
box in which they kept the plague, and that if the Indians offended
them they would let the awful scourge loose. They still retained a very
vivid recollection of the horrors of the pestilence which had swept
over them.

Canonicus feared that the snake-skin contained some secret and fatal
charm for his destruction. He dared not touch it. He dared not attempt
to destroy it. He dared not allow it to remain in his house or country.
And thus it was conveyed from place to place until finally it was
returned whole to the colony at Plymouth.

Notwithstanding the brave attitude the colonists had assumed, they
had great cause for uneasiness. They promptly decided that it was
necessary to surround the whole of their little village with a
palisade consisting of strong posts, ten or twelve feet high, planted
in the ground in contact with each other. This palisade also included
a portion of the top of the hill, where their ordnance was planted,
and at the bottom of which their village was built. There were three
gates of entrance, which were locked every night, and carefully guarded
every day. Captain Standish divided his whole force into four companies
of about twelve men each, and appointed a captain over each band. A
general muster was appointed, which was the first general muster in
New England. At this gathering, Captain Standish reviewed his troops
and gave minute directions to each company where to assemble and
what to do in case of alarm. The months of January and February were
devoted incessantly to fortifying their little village, the work being
completed early in March.

Captain Standish, in his visit to the Massachusetts, had informed the
natives that he would soon visit them again, to purchase such furs as
they might have collected. It was deemed important now to fulfill this
promise, one principal object being to impress the Indians with the
conviction that the colonists had no fear of them. It was also rumored
to them that the several tribes of Massachusetts Indians, and that even
their friends the Wampanoags, under Massasoit, were entering into the
confederacy of the Narraganset’s against the white men. The friendly
Indian, Hobbomak, who resided with the Pilgrims at Plymouth, seemed
deeply impressed with the conviction that the Massachusetts Indians
were hostile, and assured Captain Standish that should he attempt a
journey to Massachusetts, he would be surely cut off by the savages. He
gave many plausible reasons in support of the correctness of his views,
and even declared that Squantum, in whom they reposed much confidence,
was treacherously their foe, aiding the Indians; and that Squantum
would endeavor to draw them as far as possible from their shallop, that
the Indians might fall upon them and destroy them. He however did not
believe that Massasoit meditated any treachery.

The Governor, Captain Standish, and few others of the most judicious
men held a council together, and came to the following conclusion,
which I give in the words of Edward Winslow, who was one of the council:

“That as hitherto, upon all occasions between the Indians and us, we
had ever manifested undaunted love and resolution, so it would not now
stand with our safety to mew ourselves up in our new-enclosed town;
partly because our store was almost empty, and therefore we must seek
out our daily food, without which we could not long subsist; but
especially that thereby they would see us dismayed and be encouraged to
prosecute their malicious purposes with more eagerness than ever they
had intended.

“Whereas, on the contrary, by the blessing of God, our fearless
carriage might be a means to discourage and to weaken their
proceedings. And therefore we thought best to proceed in our trading
voyage, making this use of what we had heard, to go the better
provided, and use the more carefulness both at home and abroad, leaving
the event to the disposing of the Almighty; whose providence, as it had
hitherto been over us for good, so we had now no cause, save our sins,
to despair of his mercy in our preservation and continuance, where we
desired rather to be instruments of good to the heathen about us, than
to give them the least measure of just offense.”

In accordance with this resolve, early in April Captain Standish took
ten men, with Squantum and Hobbomak as interpreters, and set out in
the shallop for what is now Boston harbor. In Plymouth bay there is
a remarkable promontory, connected with Marshfield by a beach, now
called Salt-house beach, about six miles long. The extremity of this
promontory was call Gurnet’s Nose, from its resemblance to a similar
point of land on the coast of England. The peninsula contains about
twenty-seven acres of good land, and, upon its southern extremity,
there have since been erected two light-houses.

Just as the shallop was doubling Gurnet’s Nose, an Indian, who was
one of the family of Squantum, came rushing in apparent terror, his
face covered with blood, to some of the Pilgrims at work in the woods,
looking behind him as if pursued, and calling upon them to hasten with
all possible speed within the protection of the palisades. Breathlessly
he told them that at Namasket, now Middleborough, within fifteen miles
of Plymouth, a war party of Narragansets and Wampanoags, united under
Massasoit, the professed friend, but treacherous foe, of the colonists,
was marching to attack them. He said that he had been attacked and
wounded for speaking friendly words in behalf of the colonists, and
that by breaking away he had narrowly escaped death.

Upon receiving this startling intelligence, the Governor ordered the
cannon upon the hill to be instantly discharged to recall the shallop.
The day was calm, the boat had been retarded in its progress, and the
report, booming over the still waters of the bay, reached the ears
of the crew just as the shallop was disappearing around the point
of Gurnet’s Nose. Captain Standish immediately returned, the whole
military force of the colony was at once called into requisition, and
measures were adopted for a vigorous defense.

Upon the return of the shallop, Hobbomak, who was with Captain
Standish, declared, with great positiveness, that the rumor was false.
He said that he was sure that Massasoit would prove faithful to his
pledges; that it was impossible that he could undertake such an
enterprise without communicating his intentions to his sub-chiefs, of
whom Hobbomak himself was one of the principal. This tended rather to
increase the suspicions of the colonists that Squantum might be playing
a double part.

To ascertain the facts, the wife of Hobbomak, who seems to have been
a very intelligent and reliable woman, was sent as a secret agent or
spy to Pokanoket, the seat of Massasoit, to inform herself respecting
the true posture of affairs, and to bring back a report. Her difficult
and important mission she performed very creditably. Finding there
everything quiet, and no indication whatever of any hostile movement,
she frankly informed Massasoit of the rumors which had reached the ears
of the Pilgrims. He was very indignant in being thus traduced, threw
much blame upon Squantum, and expressed his gratitude that the Governor
had not distrusted him. He requested the squaw to assure the Governor
that he would prove faithful to his treaty obligations, and that should
he see any indications of hostility in any quarter he would immediately
give the Governor warning.


_The Weymouth Colonists._

  The Double-Dealing of Squantum.--False Alarm.--Voyage to
      Massachusetts.--Massasoit Demands Squantum.--The Arrival of
      the boat.--The Virginia Massacre.--Preparations for Defense.--
      Arrival of the Charity and the Swan.--Vile Character of the
      Weymouth Colonists.--Arrival of the Discovery.--Starvation at
      Weymouth.--Danger of the Plymouth Colony.--Expeditions for
      Food.--Death of Squantum.--Voyage to Massachusetts and the Cape.

Speaking of the apprehended double-dealing of Squantum, Mr. Winslow

“Thus, by degrees, we began to discover Squantum, whose ends were
only to make himself great in the eyes of his countrymen, by means
of his nearness and favor with us, not caring who fell so he stood.
In the general, his course was to persuade them he could lead us to
peace or war at his pleasure, and would oft threaten the Indians,
sending them word in a private manner that we were intending shortly
to kill them, that thereby he might get gifts to himself to work their
peace; insomuch that they had him in greater esteem than many of their
sachems. So that whereas divers were wont to rely on Massasoit for
protection, and resort to his abode, now they began to leave him and
seek after Squantum.

“Now, though he could not make good these, his large promises,
especially because of the continued peace between Massasoit and us,
he therefore raised this false alarm, hoping, while things were hot
in the heat of blood, to provoke us to march into his country against
him; whereby he hoped to kindle such a flame as would not easily be
quenched; and hoping if that block were once removed, there were no
other between him and honor, which he loved as his life, and better
than peace.”

The above is undoubtedly the true explanation of the strange conduct of
Squantum. The Governor very severely reprimanded him for his trickery.
Massasoit was so indignant that he sent a messenger to Plymouth,
entreating that Squantum might be put to death. The Governor admitted
that he deserved death, but he could not possibly be spared. As he
alone understood both languages, without him there could scarcely be
any intercourse between the Pilgrims and the Indians.

“It was, perhaps,” writes Francis Baylies, “after all, but natural for
Squantum, who does not appear to have possessed much influence with
the natives, at the time of the arrival of the English, to endeavor to
make the most of their favor. His knowledge of the English language
gave him a decided advantage over all others. His own small tribe had
been exterminated by the plague. He was a solitary man, unaided by
the influence or favor of kindred, and he only used the means which
fortune had placed in his hands to acquire wealth, consideration and
influence. Another of his devices, to magnify the power of the English,
and consequently his own, was to persuade the natives that the English
had buried the plague in their store-house, and that they could loose
it at will, and ravage the whole country. The apprehension of this kept
the Indians in great fear.”[24]

The alarm created by this false rumor having subsided, Captain Standish
again set out with his party to visit Massachusetts. It is to be
regretted that we have not a detailed account of the incidents which
occurred upon this voyage. The only record we have is contained in the
few following words, by Mr. Winslow:

“After this, we proceeded in our voyage to the Massachusetts, where
we had good store of trade; and, blessed by God, returned in safety,
though driven from before our town in great danger and extremity of

Upon their return in May, they found Massasoit still in a state of
great excitement in reference to the conduct of Squantum. By the
treaty, which the English had entered into with the Indian King, both
parties were bound to surrender criminals. Squantum, as an adopted
member of the Wampanoag tribe, was a subject of Massasoit. The Indian
chief now sent an imposing delegation to Plymouth, formally demanding
the surrender of Squantum, that, in accordance with Indian law, he
might be put to death as a traitor. With the delegation, he sent
executioners to cut off Squantum’s head and hands, and to bring them to
him. In token of his friendship for the English he sent to the Governor
a rich present of beaver skins.

Governor Bradford was much embarrassed. He sent for Squantum. The
culprit, though fully aware of the object of the Indian envoys, and
even that Massasoit had sent his own knife, with which to cut off his
head and hands, made no effort to escape. With true Indian stolidity he
yielded himself to the Governor to be delivered to death, or not, as he
might think best.

The terms of the treaty seemed clear. The Governor decided that he
could not, without violating his solemn pledge, refuse to surrender
Squantum to Massasoit. He was just about to make this surrender, which
would have resulted in the immediate death of the Indian, and which, of
course, created the most intense excitement in the little colony, when
all were startled by the apparition of a shallop, under full sail,
rounding Hither Monomet Point, which constituted the southern boundary
of Plymouth Bay. A panic pervaded the colony. It was feared that it
was a French boat, accompanying some French man-of-war, and that they
were approaching in concert with the Indians for the destruction of the
colony. Every man sprang to arms. Captain Standish mustered his whole
force for defence. It might be that the hostile Indians would rush upon
them in an hour. There was no doubt that Squantum, with all his great
imperfections of character, was the friend of the English. His services
as interpreter, under these circumstances, became more important than
ever. Governor Bradford therefore informed the envoys that he could
not deliver Squantum to their custody. This roused their indignation.
“Being mad with rage,” writes Mr. Winslow, “and impatient at delay,
they departed in great heat.”

It was soon ascertained, greatly to the relief of the colonists, that
the shallop belonged to an English fishing vessel, called the Sparrow.
The ship had been fitted out by Mr. Thomas Weston, a London merchant,
and brought seven passengers to be landed at Plymouth. The vessel,
engaged in fishing, had cast anchor at a place called Damari’s Cove,
near Monhegan, upon the coast of Maine, about one hundred and twenty
miles northeast from Plymouth. This was famous fishing ground, and
there were, at that time, thirty-five vessels riding at anchor there.
The Sparrow, while most of her crew were engaged in fishing, had sent
her shallop to convey the seven passengers to Plymouth.

The boat brought seven more mouths to be fed, and no provisions. It was
the last of May, 1622. The colonial store of food was almost entirely
consumed, and for a long time the colonists had been placed upon very
short allowance. This boat brought a very friendly letter from the
captain of the Swallow, John Huldston, communicating the startling
intelligence that the Indians in Virginia had risen against the colony
there on the 22d of March, and four hundred of the Indians had been
massacred. There could be no doubt that this success of the Indians in
Virginia would be speedily communicated to all the tribes; and that it
would inspire the hostile Indians in New England with the desire to
imitate their example.

The crew of the shallop had barely provision sufficient to serve
them until their return to the ship. The destitution of food in the
colony was so great that the colonists were threatened with absolute
starvation. The Governor therefore sent Mr. Winslow in the shallop,
with a small crew, to the fishing vessels, to obtain from them, if
possible, some supplies. The boat from the Swallow led the way. The
fishermen were very generous. Though they had but a scant supply of
provisions for themselves, yet, with an abundant store of fish on
board, they were in no danger of starving. They refused to take any pay
for the contributions they furnished to meet the wants of the Pilgrims.
Governor Bradford writes:

“What was got, and this small boat brought, being divided among so
many, came but to a little. Yet by God’s blessing it upheld them till
harvest. It arose to but a quarter of a pound of bread a day to each
person. The Governor caused it to be daily given them; otherwise, had
it been in their own custody, they would have eaten it up and then
starved. But thus, with what else they could get, they made pretty
shift until corn was ripe.”[26]

The question naturally arises, How was it possible that the colonists
should find themselves in a state of such utter destitution, in a
country so overflowing with abundance as Mr. Winslow’s letter has
described, where the forests were filled with game and the waters with
fish. We will allow Mr. Winslow himself to reply to this question.

“I answer, everything must be expected in its proper season. No man, as
one saith, will go into an orchard in the winter to gather cherries.
So he that looks for fowl there, in the summer, will be disappointed.
The time they continue plenty with us is from the beginning of October
to the end of March. But these extremities befell us in May and June.
I confess that as the fowl decrease, so fish increase. And, indeed,
their increasing abundance was a great cause of increasing our wants.
For, though our bays and creeks were full of bass and other fish, yet,
for want of fit and strong seines, and other netting, they for the most
part broke through, and carried all away before them. And, though the
sea were full of cod, yet we had neither tackling nor hawsers for our
shallops. And, indeed, had we not been in a place where divers sorts of
shell fish are, that may be taken with the hand, we must have perished,
unless God had raised some unknown or extraordinary means for our

Mr. Winslow, upon his return from the fishing fleet, found the
colony in great weakness. The hostile Indians were not blind to
this. The massacre in Virginia had roused their savage natures, and
many insulting speeches, by them, were reported to the English. Even
Massasoit was disposed to frown, being sorely displeased at their
refusal to surrender Squantum, according to the terms of the treaty.

The menaces of war had become so serious that Captain Standish
deemed it necessary immediately to increase and strengthen their
fortifications. They at once set to work to build a strong fort upon
Burial Hill, within the limits of their palisades. It consisted of a
large, square building, with a strong flat roof, made of thick planks,
supported by oaken beams. Upon this roof they placed their cannon,
commanding all the approaches. The large room below served them for a
church. Their mode of assembling for public worship is described by
Isaac de Rassieres, who visited Plymouth in 1627:

“They assemble,” he writes, “by beat of drum, each with his musket or
firelock, in front of Captain Standish’s door. They have their cloaks
on, and place themselves in order, three abreast, and are led by a
sergeant without beat of drum. Behind comes the Governor, in a long
robe. Beside him, on the right hand, comes the preacher, with his cloak
on; and on the left hand the Captain, with his side arms and cloak on,
and with a small cane in his hand. And so they march in good order, and
each sets his arms down near him.”

Early in July two trading ships from London, the Charity and the Swan,
entered Plymouth harbor. These ships brought fifty or sixty emigrants,
who intended to settle in the country as the agents of a company in
England. It was their object to establish a colony to trade with the
Indians. The expedition was fitted out by Mr. Thomas Weston, a wealthy
merchant in London, and hence the new-comers were generally called
Weston’s men. Many of them were utterly devoid of principle, profane
and profligate. Mr. Cushman wrote in reference to them:

“They are no men for us, and I fear that they will hardly deal so well
with the savages as they should. I pray you, therefore, to signify to
Squantum that they are a distinct body from us, and we have nothing
to do with them, nor must be blamed for their faults, much less can
warrant their fidelity.”

Mr. John Pierce wrote respecting them: “As for Mr. Weston’s company,
they are so base in condition for the most part, as in all appearance
not fit for an honest man’s company. I wish they might prove otherwise.”

At the time of the arrival of these rude and hungry adventurers,
the Pilgrims had their gardens filled with growing vegetables, and
they had sixty acres planted with corn, just then in the green ear.
At that time, when boiled or roasted, it made very palateable food.
But it was wasteful to use it in that state unless there were great
abundance. When ripened it contained much more nutriment, and would
go much farther in feeding the hungry. But these wretched men, though
received hospitably by the Pilgrims, and treated with the utmost
kindness, requited them by robbing their gardens and their cornfield.
Their little growing harvest was thus most cruelly wasted. Indeed these
godless wretches seemed wantonly to destroy the growing crop. Having no
religion of their own, and only a God to swear by, they insulted, with
oaths and ribald jests, those devout men, who daily looked in prayer
to God for guidance, and whose voices were often blended in Christian

The Pilgrims seem to have been more grieved in view of the influence
the conduct of these men would exert upon the savages, than by the
outrages to which they themselves were exposed. Mr. Winslow wrote:

“Nevertheless, for their master’s sake, who formerly had deserved well
from us,[28] we continued to do them whatever good or furtherance
we could, attributing these things to the want of confidence and
discretion, expecting each day when God, in his providence, would
disburden us of them, sorrowing that their overseers were not of more
ability and fitness for their places, and much fearing what would be
the issue of such raw and unconscionable beginnings.”[29]

The Charity, which was the larger ship, having put these men ashore,
continued her voyage to Virginia. The rabble crew remained, an almost
intolerable burden upon the Pilgrims, during nearly all the summer. An
expedition was fitted out to explore Massachusetts Bay, in search of
a suitable location for Mr. Weston’s colony. The expedition at length
returned, recommending a place in Boston harbor, called by the Indians
Wessagusset, but to which the name of Weymouth was subsequently given.

Inexpressible was the satisfaction of the Pilgrims when they saw
these miscreants take their departure. They however left behind them
quite a number of sick persons, whom the Pilgrims nursed with true
Christian benevolence, placing them under the care of their own skilful
physician, Dr. Fuller, and, as they recovered, sending them, without
any charge, to their own distant colony.

But immediately after these men landed at Weymouth, complaints came to
the ears of the Pilgrims of innumerable acts of violence and injustice
which they were perpetrating. They stole the corn of the Indians,
insulted their females in the grossest manner, and in all things seemed
to regard the Indians as not entitled to any rights which white men
were bound to respect. The Pilgrims were the more annoyed by these
atrocities, since the Indians, disposed to be friendly, had entreated
Captain Standish to establish a colony of white men in their country,
who could teach them many arts, and to whom they could sell their
corn and furs. Their outrages, reported from tribe to tribe, tended
also to exasperate everywhere the undiscriminating Indians against
the English. But the Pilgrims had no power to redress these abuses.
They remonstrated earnestly; but their remonstrances were in vain. The
outrages were continued unabated.

The Weston men had brought scarcely any supplies with them. Before a
month had passed they were actually in a starving condition. They had
no harvest to gather in; winter was coming upon them, and death by
famine stared them in the face. To add to their misery, anarchy reigned
there, and the colony consisted of a rabble of profane, ungovernable
men, in constant quarrels among themselves. These men had also so
wasted and consumed the supplies upon which the industrious Pilgrims
had been relying for the winter, that the Plymouth colony was also in
great danger of perishing from want.

When in this alarming condition, and when the minds of the Pilgrims
were agitated with great anxiety in view of the future, two ships,
at the end of August, came into Plymouth harbor. One of them, the
Discovery, was commanded by Captain Jones, formerly of the Mayflower.
The other was one of Mr. Weston’s small fishing vessels, the Swan,
which had returned from a fishing expedition, and was bound for
Virginia. Providentially, Captain Jones had quite a large supply of
provisions. He had never been in cordial sympathy with the Pilgrims,
and now he very ungenerously took advantage of their great necessities.
Though the Pilgrims were consequently compelled to pay an exorbitant
price for everything they obtained of him, still they were enabled to
purchase such supplies as would save them from actual starvation. Mr.
Winslow writes:

“And had not the Almighty, in His all-ordering providence, directed him
to us, it would have gone worse with us than ever it had been, or after
was. For as we had now but small store of corn for the year following,
so, for want of supply, we were worn out of all manner of trucking
stuff, not having any means to help us by trade. But, through God’s
good mercy towards us, he had wherewith, and did supply our wants, on
that kind, competently.”[30]

In consequence of the destitution of Mr. Weston’s colony at Weymouth,
the Swan was sent there, with a considerable supply of provisions,
and with articles to trade with the Indians in exchange for corn. The
Swan was also left with the colony, to be used for coasting purposes.
But not a month had passed before these reckless spendthrifts had
squandered all their provisions, and were again starving. And they
were in such poor repute with the Indians that none dared venture into
the colony with corn to sell, lest they should be robbed.

A man by the name of John Sanders was the leading man, a sort of
governor over the Weymouth colony. He wrote to Governor Bradford,
wishing to unite with him in an excursion along the eastern and
southern coast of Cape Cod, to purchase corn of the Indians. He would
furnish the vessel for the voyage, the Swan, but the colony at Plymouth
must furnish the men to trade with the Indians and the articles for
traffic. The corn was to be equally divided between them. He promised
to repay the Pilgrims for such trading commodities as they should
contribute, when the next supplies came from Mr. Weston.

The promises of such a man were of but little value. The Weymouth
colony was already in a hopelessly ruinous condition. But the Pilgrims
were well aware that they were daily in danger of an irruption of the
whole vagabond gang to eat out their substance, and to fill their
peaceful village with clamor and violence. They had far more to fear
from these wretched colonists than from the savages. Policy therefore,
as well as humanity, urged it upon them to do everything in their power
to supply the wants of Weston’s men, and thus keep them at a distance.

Captain Standish, with a small crew, took command of the Swan for
this trading expedition along the outer coast of Cape Cod. Squantum
accompanied them as interpreter and pilot. They had succeeded in
reconciling Massasoit to him. They set sail the latter part of
September. But so violent a gale arose that they were compelled to put
back, having suffered considerable harm. It took some time to repair
damages, when again they weighed anchor. Squantum proved a very poor
pilot. They were entangled among the shoals, and retarded by contrary
winds; and, to add to their calamities, Captain Standish was seized
with a violent fever. Thus they were compelled a second time to put
back, not having accomplished anything.

These delays brought them to the month of November. The captain
continuing quite sick, Governor Bradford himself took command of the
vessel. The Governor had but little confidence in Squantum’s knowledge
of the coast. Still he had to look to him alone, for no one else knew
anything of the region. At last, much bewildered and in peril, they ran
into an harbor with which Squantum was familiar, at a place called, by
the Indians, Manamocki, now Chatham.

The Governor, accompanied by a small party, with Squantum for
interpreter, went on shore that night. But no Englishmen had visited
the region before, and the natives, terrified by the sight of the
vessel, had fled. Through Squantum, the Governor gradually succeeded
in making his friendly intentions known, and cautiously they gathered
around him. They brought venison and corn in considerable abundance,
and seemed very glad to exchange them for the valuable articles which
Governor Bradford offered in return. Still they manifested much fear of
their visitors, and were very unwilling to let them know where their
dwellings were. And when they found that the Governor intended to
remain on shore all night, they suddenly disappeared, running to their
wigwams, and carrying all their valuables away with them.

Again, through the intervention of Squantum, confidence was partially
restored. The Governor was so successful in his trade that he purchased
of them, though but a few and scattered people, eight hogsheads of corn
and beans. Such facts seemed to indicate that all of the Indians did
not depend so much upon the chase for sustenance as has generally been
supposed. While thus engaged Squantum was taken sick of a fever, and,
after a few day’s illness, died. He was heard to pray, and he asked
Governor Bradford to pray that God would take him to the heaven of the
Englishmen. All his valuables he bequeathed to his English friends, as
remembrances of his love. His death was considered a great loss to the
colony. Judge Davis, commenting upon it, writes:

“Governor Bradford’s pen was worthily employed in the tender notice of
the death of this child of nature. With some aberrations his conduct
was generally irreproachable; and his useful services to the infant
settlement entitle him to grateful remembrance.”

The death of Squantum left the Governor without either pilot or
interpreter. He did not venture, therefore, to go any further south,
where he would encounter innumerable shoals, and where he would find
himself among strange Indians. These considerations induced him to turn
to the north. He was acquainted with the waters of Massachusetts Bay,
and the Indians residing on those shores were in friendly relations
with the Pilgrims. Indeed, they had been induced to plant more corn
than usual, that they might have the means to purchase the valuable
articles which the Pilgrims could offer them in exchange.

With a fair wind they soon entered Boston harbor. Here they found,
to their grief, a fearful pestilence raging among the Indians, and
many of them were dying. Bitter complaints were also brought to the
Governor respecting the Weymouth colonists. The Massachusetts Indians
were so exasperated by the infamous conduct of these men, that they
were plotting for their utter extermination, many intending to follow
up the massacre of the Weymouth colonists by the destruction of the
Plymouth colony also. They were in no mood for peaceful traffic.

The Governor, therefore, speedily weighed anchor and spread his sails
for Nauset, on the inner shore of Cape Cod. It will be remembered that
the Pilgrims had formerly found some corn stored there, which, in their
great need they took, but for which they afterwards fully paid the
Indians. Captain Standish had also visited the region in search of the
lost boy. Aspinet, the chief of the tribe, residing there, was very
friendly. They landed in a small bay, between Barnstable and Yarmouth
harbors. They had hardly made their port when a terrible storm arose.
The gale was so furious that, notwithstanding their shelter, they
came very near shipwreck. The shallop, attached to the Swan, was torn
from them and driven they knew not where. This was a great calamity.
The shoal water rendered it necessary to cast anchor at some distance
from the shore, according to their estimate nearly six miles, and they
had now no means of bringing on board such provisions as they might
purchase. They had indeed one small boat, but it was so small and
leaky that they scarcely ventured to go ashore in it, even in the most
pleasant weather, for wood and water.

The Governor, however, opened a very successful trade with the Indians.
He seems to have had much confidence in their honesty, for, having
purchased a large quantity of corn, he stored it away, simply covering
it with mats, and hired a neighboring Indian to watch and protect it
from vermin till he could return and fetch it. In the meantime Aspinet
had sent his men to traverse the shore in search of the shallop, which
the storm had wrenched from them. It was found at the distance of
several miles, much broken, and half buried in the sand at high water
mark. It was entirely unserviceable until it should be repaired by a
ship carpenter, and there was no carpenter on board the Swan.

The Governor, for some unexplained reason, decided to return to
Plymouth by land, a distance of fifty miles. He took with him a single
Indian guide, and traversing the wilderness on foot through the Indian
trails, reached Plymouth in safety, weary and footsore. The Indians
on the way treated him with great respect and hospitality. Three days
after his arrival the Swan entered the harbor, and the portion of corn
she had brought, which, by the division, belonged to the Weymouth
colony, was immediately sent in the vessel to them.

Captain Standish having now recovered his health, took another shallop
and a ship carpenter, and sailed in the Swan, which came back to
Plymouth from Weymouth, across the bay to Nauset, to fetch the corn
which they had stored there, and to repair and bring home the wrecked
shallop. He found all safe. While the carpenter was repairing the
shallop, he was busy with the other boat, transporting the corn out to
the vessel, which, as we have mentioned, it was necessary to anchor at
quite a distance from the shore.

It was the month of January, cold and stormy. The exposure and the
labor were painful, for often the sea was very rough. The coast of
Eastham, off which the Swan lay, abounds with creeks. Into one of these
the shallop ran to take in its load. While in the creek one day, an
Indian stole some beads, scissors, and other trifles from the boat.
Captain Standish took one or two of his men with him, and going to the
sachem, demanded the restitution of the articles, or he should take the
law into his own hands and obtain redress. With this menace he left the
chief, refusing to receive any hospitality from him. It so happened
that the thief was known, and the sachem could, without difficulty,
restore the stolen articles, were he disposed to do so.

The next morning Aspinet came to Captain Standish with a very imposing
retinue. Both he and his men saluted the Captain, in the style of
Indian homage, kissing his hand, indeed licking it, and bowing the
knee very humbly before him. He then delivered up all the articles
which had been taken, expressed his deep regret at the occurrence, and
assured Captain Standish that the thief had been severely beaten for
his crime. In token of his regret and friendship, the Indian women were
ordered to bring to the Captain quite a supply of freshly-baked corn

The Swan returned to Plymouth with about twenty-eight hogsheads of corn
and beans, which were equally divided between the two colonies, as
before. In the two colonies there were now about one hundred and fifty
hungry mouths to be fed. Of course such a supply would soon disappear.
It became immediately necessary to fit out new expeditions in search of


_The Sickness of Massasoit and End of the Weymouth Colony._

  Search for Corn.--Trip to Buzzard’s Bay.--Interesting Incident.--
      Energy and Sagacity of Captain Standish.--Hostile Indications.--
      Insolence of Witeewamat.--The Plot Defeated.--Sickness of
      Massasoit.--The Visit.--Gratitude of the Chief.--Visit to
      Corbitant.--Condition of the Weymouth Colony.--The Widespread
      Coalition.--Military Expedition of Captain Standish.--His
      Heroic Adventures.--End of the Weymouth Colony.

The Governor soon took one or two men and went to Middleborough, the
Namasket of the Indians, to purchase corn. It all had to be brought
home in sacks upon the back. The Indian women aided in transporting it.
The Pilgrims were astonished to see what burdens they would bear. “It
is almost incredible,” writes Roger Williams, “what burdens the poor
women carry of corn, of fish, of beans, of mats, and a child besides.”
An Indian woman, of small stature, would take a hundred weight of corn
upon her shoulders and trudge through the wilderness for miles without
resting. But a small supply of corn could be obtained at Namasket.

The Governor then took an inland trip of sixty miles to an Indian
settlement called Manomet, at the head of Buzzard’s Bay. The distance
across the cape here to Massachusetts Bay is but six miles. They
could, after that short land carriage, by an easy voyage in the boats,
transport their corn to Plymouth. Here the Governor purchased quite a
supply, which he left in the custody of the sachem, Canacum, until the
boats could be sent to fetch it. While here, an incident occurred which
is worthy of record, as illustrative of Indian customs:

It was the month of February. The night was bitterly cold, a fierce
storm raging. The Governor was in the snug wigwam of the sachem,
sitting by the bright fire blazing in the centre of the hut. Two
stranger Indians entered. Without speaking a word they laid aside their
bows and arrows, sat down upon the mats by the fire, took out their
pipes and began to smoke. Having finished their pipes, one of them made
a short address of greeting to the chief, and presented him with a
basket containing tobacco and some beads. The chief received the gift
graciously. The Indian then, in quite a long speech, delivered his
message, which was interpreted to the Governor by Hobbomak. It was as

Two Indians of the tribe to which the messengers belonged, while
gambling, quarrelled, and one killed the other. The murderer was a man
of special note, and one who could not be well spared. His chief was
unwilling to order his execution. But the sachem of another powerful
tribe had declared that unless he put the offender to death he would
wage war against him with all his force. The chief therefore desired
the advice of his powerful friend, Canacum, as to the course it was
proper for him to pursue.

There was then, for some time, silence. At length Canacum asked the
opinion of all who were present. When Hobbomak was questioned, he
said: “I am a stranger; but it seems to me better that one should die
than many, especially since that one deserves death, and the many are
innocent.” Canacum then directed the messengers to inform their sachem
that in his opinion the murderer should be put to death.

The Governor returned to Plymouth, intending to send Captain Standish
in the shallop, to fetch the corn which he had purchased. Just after
his arrival, a messenger came from John Sanders, in Weymouth, stating
that the colonists there were actually in a starving condition; that
they could obtain no corn from the Indians, as the Indians would not
lend it to them, and that they had no means of buying. Under these
circumstances he said that he should be under the necessity of taking
it from them by force. Weak as the colonists were, by the aid of powder
and bullets, they could, without difficulty, rob the comparatively
defenceless Indians. The Governor remonstrated in the strongest terms
against this plan of robbery. He assured Sanders that such an act
would inevitably combine all the tribes in a coalition against both
colonies, and might lead to the utter extirpation of the English from
this continent. From his own scanty store of corn he sent to Weymouth
a small supply, entreating them to make shift to live, as they did at
Plymouth, upon ground-nuts, clams, and muscles.

In the mean time, Captain Standish took the shallop and sailed to
Sandwich harbor, to get the corn which the Governor had purchased and
ordered to be stored there. It was in the severest of winter weather.
Icy gales swept the ocean, and dashed the surge upon the snow-drifted
beach. They succeeded in entering the harbor, but the first night they
were frozen up there. The outrageous conduct of the Weymouth colonists,
and the threats which they had openly uttered of their intention to rob
the Indians, had spread far and wide, producing great exasperation; and
the natives who were adverse to the colonists were taking advantage of
it to form a general coalition against them.

Captain Standish, upon landing, perceived at once that there was a
change coming over the minds of the Indians. The friendliness they
affected appeared to him constrained and insincere. He was frozen
in, and large numbers of Indians began to gather around him, some
manifestly unfriendly; and there were not a few indications that a
conspiracy was being formed for his destruction. The weather was
so cold that the Pilgrims could not sleep in the shallop, but were
constrained to accept the shelter and the fires found in the Indian

The captain was not a man to be taken by guile. Avoiding all display
of his suspicions, he gave strict charge that a part of the company
should always watch by night while the rest slept. Some of the Indians
stole several articles from the boat. Captain Standish immediately
marched his whole force of six men, and surrounded the wigwam of the
sachem, where many of the most prominent of the Indians were assembled.
He then sent in word to the sachem that as he would not allow himself,
or any of his men, to be guilty of the slightest injustice towards the
Indians, neither would he submit to any injustice from them; that he
held the sachem responsible for the stolen goods, and that unless they
were immediately restored he should obtain redress by force of arms.

The crafty sachem sent agents who, without difficulty, obtained the
goods and secretly conveyed them to the shallop. He then told Captain
Standish that probably he had overlooked them, and he thought that
if he should look more carefully he would find that they were all
there. The captain, understanding this, sent to the shallop, and there
the stolen goods were, lying openly upon the boat’s cuddy. The sachem
however was much alarmed by this decision and boldness manifested by
the captain. In endeavors to win back his favor he brought to him quite
an additional quantity of corn to sell. The captain loaded down his
shallop with the treasure; and, a southerly wind freeing the harbor of
ice, he returned in safety to Plymouth.

A portion of this supply was forwarded to Weymouth. It soon, however,
was consumed, and, impelled by want, in March, Captain Standish again
took the shallop and returned to Manomet, hoping to get an additional
supply of food. He met with a chilling reception, and with increasing
evidence that the Indians were plotting against the colonists. He soon
found the explanation of this. Leaving three men in charge of the
shallop, he took three with him, and went to the wigwam of Canacum, the
sachem. While there, two Massachusett Indians came in. They were from
the immediate vicinity of Weymouth, violent and hostile men, and had
come to Canacum to engage him and his warriors in a coalition against
the English.

“The chief of them,” writes Mr. Winslow, “was called Wituwamat, a
notable insulting villain, one who had formerly imbued his hands in
the blood of English and French, and had often boasted of his own
valor, and derided their weakness, especially because, as he said, they
died crying, making sour faces, more like children than men.”

This boastful fellow, in the presence of Captain Standish, presented
Canacum with a dagger, which he had obtained from the Weymouth men. He
then addressed him in a long speech, in a language which he knew that
the Captain could not understand, but in a tone and with gestures which
could not but be considered insulting. The purport of this address, as
afterwards interpreted, was as follows:

We have decided to exterminate the weak and starving colony at
Weymouth. We are strong enough to do it any day. But we fear that
the colony at Plymouth will avenge the death of their countrymen. It
is therefore necessary to destroy both colonies. To do this we must
unite our tribes against them. We now come to solicit your aid. The
redoubtable Captain of the Plymouth colony is now with you, with six
of his men. They can all easily be killed. This will make our work

Canacum was evidently impressed by this speech. He neglected Captain
Standish, and treated his Indian guest with marked distinction. A plot
was formed for the assassination of the whole boat’s crew. The Indians
stood in deadly fear of the muskets of the English, and did not dare
approach the shallop with hostile intent. The Captain did not allow
any armed men to draw near them. The Indians tried to lure them all on
shore, saying that it was too cold for them to sleep in the shallop.
They hoped to fall upon them, in sudden massacre, while asleep in the
huts. With this purpose in their hearts they feigned great friendship,
made presents to Captain Standish, and with alacrity aided in carrying
corn to the shallop. The Captain evaded all their wiles, and a fair
wind soon bore him back again to his friends.

While he was absent, word came to Plymouth that Massasoit was very
dangerously sick, and that his death was daily expected; and also that
a Dutch ship had been driven ashore almost opposite his dwelling. It
was a custom with the Indians that when any chief was sick, all his
friends should hasten to visit him. In observance of this custom, and
also to obtain some intercourse with the Dutch, and hoping also to
secure the friendship of the neighboring sachems, it was decided that
Mr. Winslow and Mr. Hampden, with Hobbomak as a guide, should visit the
dying chief at his home in Paomet.

It was a perilous journey in the then unsettled state of affairs. It
was not known who of the Indians were friendly, and who were hostile.
The death of Massasoit might bring the hostile party into power, and
then there would be hardly a possibility that the two envoys could
escape with their lives. Hobbomak, who had embraced Christianity, and
was apparently a consistent Christian, seemed to be deeply grieved in
view of the death of his chief. He said to Mr. Winslow,

“I shall never see his like again. He was no liar; he was not bloody
and cruel, like other Indians. In anger and passion he was soon
reclaimed. He was easy to be reconciled to those who had offended him.
Ruled by reason, he scorned the advice of mean men, and governed his
people better with few strokes than others did with many. When he is
gone the English will not have a true and faithful friend left among
the Indians.”

Massasoit had two sons, Wamsutta and Pometacom. According to Indian
usage, upon the death of the father, the eldest son inherited the
chieftainship. But it was feared that Corbitant, who had already
manifested hostility, and in whose assumed reconciliation but little
reliance could be placed, would by violence grasp the power, and bring
the whole weight of the tribe against the colonists.

The deputation traveled the first day as far as the little Indian
hamlet of Namasket, which, it will be remembered, occupied the present
site of Middleborough. They passed the night in the wigwam of an
Indian. The next day they continued their journey to Mattapoisit, in
the present town of Swanzey. Here Corbitant resided. The rumor had
already reached them that Massasoit was dead. There were indications
that Corbitant had already taken steps as an usurper, and there were
serious apprehensions that the two defenceless Englishmen would
immediately fall victims to his hostile policy.

The two envoys, however, to avoid all appearance of suspicion, went
directly to Corbitant’s house. The sachem was not at home, but his wife
received them kindly. They sent forward an Indian runner to Paomet,
to bring them back tidings respecting the condition of Massasoit. He
returned with the tidings that the chief was still living when he left,
but was expected every moment to die. They hurried on, and reached
Paomet late at night. In the following terms Mr. Winslow describes his
visit to the dying chief:

“When we came thither we found the house so full of men as we could
scarce get in, though they used their best diligence to make way for
us. There were they in the midst of their charms for him, making such
a hellish noise as it distempered us that were well, and therefore
unlike to ease him that was sick. About him were six or eight women,
who chafed his arms, legs and thighs, to keep heat in him. When they
had made an end of their charming, one told him that his friends, the
English, were come to see him. Having understanding left, but his sight
being wholly gone, he asked who was come. They told him _Winsnow_,
for they cannot pronounce the letter _l_, but ordinarily _n_ in the
place thereof. He desired to speak with me. When I came to him, and
they told him of it, he put forth his hand to me, which I took. Then
he said twice, though very inwardly, _Keen Winsnow_, which is to say,
Art thou Winslow? I answered, _Ah he_, that is, Yes. Then he doubled
these words, _Matta neen wonckanet namen, Winsnow_! that is to say, O
Winslow, I shall never see thee again.”[32]

Mr. Winslow then informed the dying chief, through Hobbomak, that the
Governor was sorry to hear of his sickness, and would have visited
him in person had not important business prevented; that he had
consequently sent Mr. Winslow and Mr. Hampden in his stead, with
such medicines as the English used in case of sickness. Mr. Winslow
administered these medicines, which proved so wonderfully efficacious
that soon his patient quite revived, his sight was restored, and he was
able to take some refreshing broth. All the Indians were surprised and
delighted by the change. Two Indians were sent to Plymouth for more
medicine, and for two chickens for broth. They were dispatched at two
o’clock in the morning, bearing letters informing the Governor of the
success of their mission. Mr. Winslow gives the following account of
his medical practice on this important occasion:

“He requested me that, the day following, I would take my piece and
kill him some fowl, and make him some English pottage, such as he had
eaten at Plymouth. After, his stomach coming, I must needs make him
some without fowl, before I went abroad. This somewhat troubled me,
being unacquainted and unaccustomed in such business, especially having
nothing to make it comfortable, my consort being as ignorant as myself.
But being we must do somewhat, I caused a woman to bruise some corn and
take the flour from it, and set over the broken corn in a pipkin, for
they have earthen pots of all sizes.

“When the day broke we went out, it being now March, to seek herbs,
but could not find any but strawberry leaves, of which I gathered a
handful and put into the same. And because I had nothing to relish it,
I went forth again and pulled up a sassafras root, and sliced a piece
thereof and boiled it till it had a good relish, and then took it out
again. The broth being boiled, I strained it through my handkerchief,
and gave him at least a pint, which he liked very well. After this his
sight mended more and more; and he took some rest, insomuch that we
with admiration blessed God for giving his blessing to such raw and
ignorant means; making no doubt of his recovery, himself and all of
them acknowledging us the instruments of his preservation.”[33]

The grateful chief requested Mr. Winslow to visit all the sick in his
village, and to administer to them the same remedies which had been so
available in his case. With true Christian philanthropy Mr. Winslow
undertook this task, finding it needful to perform many revolting
offices, from which he did not shrink. With the utmost tenderness he
watched the fluctuations of the disease of the king, and administered
remedies apparently with much intuitive skill. Having succeeded in
shooting a duck, just before the men returned with the pigeons,
Massasoit decided to preserve them alive for breed. His recovery
excited so much astonishment that many persons came a hundred miles
to see him. Great efforts had been made by the hostile Indians to
prejudice him against the English, and to induce him to join their

“Now I see,” he said, “that the English are my friends, and love me.
And whilst I live I will never forget this kindness they have showed
me. They have been more kind to me than any others have been.”

As Mr. Winslow was leaving, Massasoit called Hobbomak privately to him,
one or two of his warriors only being present, and informed him in full
of the plot of the Massachusetts Indians to destroy the Weston colony,
and then to attack that at Plymouth. He mentioned seven tribes who were
united with them in the coalition, among others mentioning some who
were making loud professions of friendship. He said that he had been
earnestly solicited to join them, but that he would not do so, neither
would he allow any of the tribes under his sway to make any hostile

Massasoit advised the pilgrims, through Hobbomak, that if they would
save the lives of their countrymen, they should immediately put to
death the leading men of the Massachusetts tribes who were organizing
this formidable conspiracy. “Say to them,” said he, “that they often
say that they will never strike the first blow. But if they wait until
their countrymen at Weymouth are killed, who are entirely unable to
defend themselves, it will then be too late for them to protect their
own lives. I therefore advise them, without any delay, to put the
leaders of this plot to death. Communicate what I say to you to Mr.
Winslow, on your way home, that he may relate the same to Governor

Very affectionately the two parties took leave of each other. The
envoys were disappointed in not meeting the Dutch; but the day before
their arrival, a high tide enabled them to move the ship from the
shoals, upon which it had been stranded, and they had proceeded on
their voyage. The Pilgrims called upon Corbitant on their return,
and passed the night with him. He received them with great apparent
cordiality. Mr. Winslow gives the following pleasing account of the

“I had much confidence with him; he being a notable politician, yet
full of merry jests and quibs, and never better pleased than when the
like are returned upon him. Among other things he asked me, if in case
he were thus dangerously sick, as Massasoit had been, and should send
word thereof to Plymouth for medicine, whether the Governor would send
it; and if he would, whether I would come therewith to him. To both
which I answered, yea; whereat he gave me joyful thanks.

“After that, he demanded further how we durst, being but two, come so
far into the country. I answered, where was true love there was no
fear; and my heart was so upright towards them that, for my own part, I
was fearless to come amongst them.

“‘But,’ said he, ‘if your love be such, and it bring forth such fruits,
how cometh it to pass that when we come to Plymouth, you stand upon
your guard, with the mouths of your pieces presented towards us.’

“Whereupon I answered it was the most honorable and respective
entertainment we could give them, it being an order amongst us so to
receive our best respected friends. And as it was used on the land, so
the ships also observed it at sea, which Hobbomak knew and had seen
observed. But, shaking his head, he answered that he liked not such

Noticing that Mr. Winslow asked a blessing upon his food, and
returned thanks after partaking of it, he asked him the meaning of
the custom. He listened very attentively to Mr. Winslow’s account of
the ten commandments and of the Christian religion, and expressed his
cordial approval of nearly all. The next day the Pilgrims continued
their journey, and lodged that night at Middleborough. The next day,
when they had reached about half way home, they met two Indians, who
informed them that Captain Standish had that morning set sail for
Massachusetts, but that contrary winds had driven him back. Upon their
arrival, they found Captain Standish waiting for a fair wind to resume
his voyage.

It was the latter part of February. The news from the Weston colony
was continually becoming more disastrous. These wretched adventurers
were sinking into degradation almost beneath that of the savages.
John Sanders had taken the Swan, and, with a small crew, had sailed
for the coast of Maine, hoping to obtain some food from the fishermen
there. The religionless rabble, left behind, sold their clothes and
bed coverings for food. They became servants to the insolent Indians,
cutting wood and bringing water to them for a cup full of corn. They
stole, night and day, from the Indians. Several died from cold and
hunger. One man was digging clams. He got stuck in the mud, and was so
weak that he could not extricate himself, and miserably perished. They
scattered, wandering about in search of ground nuts and shell-fish, and
became utterly despicable, even in the eyes of the savages.

“They became contemned and scorned by the Indians,” writes Governor
Bradford, “and they began greatly to insult over them in the most
insolent manner; insomuch, many times, as they lay thus scattered
abroad, and had set on a pot with ground nuts or shell-fish, when it
was ready, the Indians would come and eat it up. And when night came,
whereas some of them had a sorry blanket or such like to lap themselves
in, the Indians would take it, and let the others lie all night in the
cold; so as their condition was very lamentable. Yea, in the end they
were fain to hang one of their men, whom they could not reclaim from
stealing, to give the Indians content.”[34]

A waggish report was circulated, with which Hudibras makes himself
merry, that, the thief being a man of some importance, who could not
well be spared, a poor decrepit old man, who was utterly unserviceable,
was hung in his stead. There was no truth in this report. And it was
still more atrocious, as a calumny, when attributed to the Pilgrims. It
cannot be denied, however, that the deed would have been in character
with the conduct of the Weymouth miscreants. They were not Puritans.
There is no evidence that they had any church, any divine worship, or
any religion.

The state of the Weston colony caused much anxiety at Plymouth. The
savages were learning to despise the English. It was necessary to take
some very decisive action, and yet it was difficult to determine what
that action should be. Captain Standish’s voyage was delayed, to wait
for further developments, and many consultations were held. At length,
on the 23d of March, the Governor assembled the whole company of the
Pilgrims in general council, and, expressing the deepest regret that
it seemed to be necessary to resort to warlike measure against those
whose good only they sought to promote, proposed that Captain Standish
should take so many well-armed men as he judged to be necessary, and,
assailing the Indians with the same weapons of guile which they were
persistently using, should go to Massachusetts as if for trade with
the Indians. On the way he was to visit Weymouth and inform the people
there of the plot which was formed against them, and of the object of
his coming, and to invite them to embark on board the Swan, and come to
Plymouth for protection. He was then to visit the Indians, carefully
scrutinize their conduct, and adopt such measures to thwart their plans
and punish their ringleaders as in his judgment might seem expedient.
He was particularly requested to bring back with him, as a warning to
all the savages, the head of that bold and bloody villain Wituwamat, of
whom we have before spoken, who was loud and boastful in his threats,
and undisguised in his measures to array all the Indians against the

Captain Standish took eight men only, selecting those in whose courage
and discretion he could repose perfect reliance. The day before he
was to sail, a man by the name of Phineas Pratt came from Weymouth,
through the woods, with his pack upon his back. He brought a deplorable
report of the degradation and helplessness of the colonists. They
were dispersed in three companies in search of food, and were almost
destitute of powder and shot. He had fled from the impending ruin, and
begged permission to remain at Plymouth.

The next day the wind was fair, and Captain Standish set sail on his
difficult and perilous expedition. They entered the harbor at Weymouth,
and proceeded first to the Swan, which was at anchor there, “but
neither man, or so much as a dog therein.” The discharge of a musket
attracted the attention of the master of the vessel, who was on shore,
with some of the colonists, searching for ground nuts. Upon Captain
Standish reproaching them with their carelessness in leaving a vessel
so important to their safety thus exposed, they replied, like men
bereft of reason, that they had no fear of the Indians. The Captain
gathered around him as many of the colonists as he could, and informed
them of the plot already ripe for their massacre. He then gave them
the invitation, on the part of the Governor and all the colonists,
to repair to Plymouth, where they would share their scanty food with
them until some better plan for their welfare could be devised. A more
heroic act of hospitality than this the world has seldom witnessed. He
also added that if there were any other plan which they preferred to
adopt, he would do everything in his power to aid them in it.

These wretched men gladly accepted the generous offer which rescued
them from the tomahawk of the savage, and decided at once to abandon
the colony. Captain Standish then enjoined upon them the most entire
secrecy in respect to their contemplated movement. The stragglers were
all to be immediately called in, and ordered not to leave the town
under penalty of death. A pint of corn was allotted to them each day,
though this had to be taken from the store which the Pilgrims had
reserved for planting.

The weather was cold, wet and stormy, and thus Captain Standish was
much delayed in his operations. The Indians, hearing of the arrival of
the shallop from Plymouth, sent a spy to Weymouth, ostensibly to sell
some furs. Though the Captain treated him with the customary courtesy,
the sagacious savage returned with the report that “he saw, by his
eyes, that he was angry in his heart.” But the Indians had become so
emboldened that they hesitated not to use any language of insolence and
menace. One of the vilest of them, a fellow of gigantic stature, by the
name of Pecksuot, with Wituwamat and his brother, came swaggering into
the little village. “Tell your Captain,” said he, “that we know that he
has come to kill us. But we do not fear him. Let him begin as soon as
he dares. We are ready for him.”

These three men, with another Indian, followed by quite a mob of the
savages, entered one of the houses, where Captain Standish was with
four of the Pilgrims. The object, evidently, was to provoke a quarrel,
and murder the Englishman. Captain Standish was a slender man, of
small stature. Pecksuot was almost a giant. The savage approached him,
whetting his knife, and boasting of his power to lay the “little man”
low. The other Indians were equally insulting and threatening, with
both word and gesture. The Captain, perfectly preserving his calmness
and self-possession, ordered the door to be shut and fastened, that no
other Indians could come in. Then, giving the signal to the others of
his men, he sprang, with the wonderful strength and agility for which
he was celebrated, upon the burly savage, wrenched the knife, which was
sharp as a needle at the point, from his hand, and after a desperate
conflict, in which he inflicted many wounds, succeeded in plunging it
to the hilt in the bosom of his foe. In like manner Wituwamat and the
other Indian, after the fiercest struggle, during which not a word was
uttered, were killed. Wituwamat’s brother, a boastful, blood-thirsty
villain of eighteen, was taken and hanged, for conspiring for the
massacre of the English.

The Indians around the house, appalled by so unexpected an exhibition
of courage and power, fled into the wilderness. Captain Standish
marshalled his whole force to pursue. The Indians rallied in an
advantageous position, and made a brief stand. But, three of their
number falling before the bullets of the Englishmen, they again turned,
and on swift foot disappeared.

The Weymouth men, aware of their danger of suffering from hunger in
Plymouth, decided to embark in the Swan for the fishing fleet on the
coast, hoping there to obtain provisions to enable them to return
to England. It was probably an acceptable decision to the Captain.
Retaining simply corn enough for his homeward trip, he gave all the
rest he had with him to them. A few decided to go to Plymouth, whom the
Captain took with him. Having seen the Swan set sail, and fairly clear
of Massachusetts Bay, the conquering hero spread his sail, and was soon
greeted by his friends for his success in his chivalric adventure. Thus
the godless colony at Weymouth came to an ignoble end.


_Domestic and Foreign Policy._

  Letter from Rev. Mr. Robinson.--Defense of Captain Standish.--New
      Policy Introduced.--Great Destitution.--Day of Fasting and
      Prayer.--Answer to Prayer.--The First Thanksgiving.--The
      Colony at Weymouth.--Worthless Character of the Colonists.--
      Neat Cattle from England.--Captain Standish Sent to England.--
      Captain Wollaston and His Colony.--Heroism of Captain
      Standish.--Morton Vanquished.--Difficulty at Cape Ann.--
      Increasing Emigration.--The Division of Property.

When the Rev. Mr. Robinson, the Pilgrims’ former pastor in Holland,
heard of these sanguinary scenes, he was greatly afflicted. Captain
Standish was not a church member, and Mr. Robinson feared that he had
acted with the impetuosity of the soldier, and not with the forbearance
of the Christian. He wrote to the Pilgrims:

“It is necessary to bear in mind the disposition of your captain, whom
I love, who is of a warm temper. I had hoped that the Lord had sent
him among you for good, if you used him right. He is a man humble and
meek among you, and towards all in ordinary course. But I doubt whether
there is not wanting that tenderness of the life of man, made after
God’s image, which is meet. O how happy a thing had it been that you
had converted some before you had killed any.”


To this it was replied that two of the Indians, Squantum and Hobbomak,
it was hoped, had already become Christians; that Captain Standish was
the military commander of the colony, and in a sense responsible for
its safety; that the measures he adopted were purely in self-defense,
and that in no other way could he possibly have saved the colonies from
massacre. Captain Standish took back with him the head of Wituwamat,
which was placed upon the fort as a warning to all hostile Indians.
This measure has been severely censured. But it is replied that the
savages, whose bloodthirsty desires were fully roused, could be
influenced by deeds only, and not by words; that no people should be
blamed for not being in advance of the age in which they lived, and
that more than a century after this, in the year 1747, in refined and
Christian England, the heads of the lords, who were implicated in the
Scots rebellion, were exposed upon Temple Bar, the most frequented
avenue between London and Westminster. Judge Davis, in his New
England’s Memorial, commenting upon Mr. Robinson’s letter, writes:

“These sentiments are honorable to Mr. Robinson. They indicate a
generous philanthropy, which must always gain our affection, and should
ever be cherished. Still the transactions, to which the strictures
relate, are defensible. As to Standish, Belknap places his defense on
the rules of duty imposed by his character as the military servant
of the colony. The government, it is presumed, will be considered as
acting under severe necessity, and will require no apology if the
reality of the conspiracy be admitted, of which there can be but little
doubt. It is certain that they were fully persuaded of its existence;
and with the terrible example of the Virginia massacre in fresh
remembrance, they had solemn duties to discharge. The existence of the
whole settlement was at hazard.”

As we have mentioned, the unintelligent Indians often behaved like
children. This energetic action seemed to overwhelm all those tribes
with terror, who were contemplating a coalition with the Massachusetts
Indians against the English. They acted as if bereft of reason,
forsaking their houses, fleeing to the swamps, and running to and fro
in the most distracted manner. Many consequently perished of hunger,
and of the diseases which exposure brought on. The planting season
had just come. In their fright they neglected to plant; and thus, in
the autumn, from want of their customary harvest of corn, many more

Tyanough, who, the reader will recollect, was sachem of the tribe at
Mattakiest, the country between Barnstable and Yarmouth harbors, had
been drawn into the conspiracy. He sent four men, in a boat, to the
Governor, at Plymouth, with a present, hoping to appease his anger. The
boat was cast away. Three were drowned. The one survivor went back, not
daring to show himself at Plymouth. The Indians regarded the disaster
as evidence of the anger of the Englishman’s God.

The month of April 1623 had arrived. It was necessary immediately to
prepare the ground for planting. The Pilgrims had but a scanty supply
of corn reserved for seed. Scarcely a kernel could be spared for food.
Until now necessity had compelled the Pilgrims to act in partnership,
having a common store of corn to be equally distributed, the fields
being cultivated in common. It was now deemed best that each man should
have his own lot, to possess whatever amount his industry might raise.
As the wants of the Colony rendered it necessary that some should
devote all their time to fishing, and there were certain other public
employments which would engross the time of individuals, a small tax,
in corn, was imposed, to defray these public expenses.

About the middle of April they began to plant, the weather being very
favorable. Each man took about an acre of land. Without ploughs, or the
aid of cattle, this was all one man could cultivate. Immediately the
advantages of individual property, instead of having a community of
interest, was manifest. All the boys and youth were ranged under some
family. This created a new scene of active industry. Much more corn was
planted, it is said, than would have been otherwise. Even the women
went willingly into the field to aid in planting, taking their little
ones with them. The situation of the colonists, at this time, seems to
have been deplorable. Governor Bradford writes:

“By the time our corn is planted our victuals are spent; not knowing,
at night, where to have a bit in the morning, and have neither bread
nor corn for three or four months together, yet bear our wants with
cheerfulness. Having but one boat left, we divide the men into several
companies, six or seven in each, who take their turns to go out with
a net and fish, and return not till they get some, though they be
five or six days out, knowing there is nothing at home, and to return
empty would be a great discouragement. When they stay long, or get
but little, the rest go a digging shell fish. And thus we live in the
summer, only sending one or two to range the woods for deer. They now
and then get one, which we divide among the company. In the winter we
are helped with fowl and ground nuts.”[35]

The friends in England sent a supply ship, the Paragon, to the
suffering colony. Three months passed, and no tidings were received
of her. But fragments of wreck were picked up, which indicated her
fate. It afterwards appeared that, having reached six hundred miles
from land, she encountered a terrible gale, by which she was so much
disabled as to be compelled to put back. Again she set sail, and again
put back, with all her upper works carried by the board. A disastrous
drouth, of six weeks continuance also ensued, which threatened the
utter destruction of their corn crop. Inevitable starvation seemed to
stare them in the face. Mr. Winslow writes:

“The most courageous were now discouraged, because God, who had
hitherto been our only shield and supporter, now seemed, in his anger,
to arm himself against us. And who can withstand the fierceness of his

In this extremity a day of fasting and prayer was appointed. It was the
middle of July. The morning was cloudless, without a sign of rain. The
sky was as brass, scarce a green herb was to be seen, and the earth was
as ashes. The exercises of devotion continued for eight hours. All felt
alike that there was no help but in God. Elder Brewster, an Israelite
indeed, in whom there was no guile, preached. Mr. Winslow writes:

“The exercises, on this special occasion, as of life and death, being
continued eight hours or more, ere their close the clouds gathered,
the heavens were overcast, and before the next morning passed, gentle
showers were distilling upon the earth, and so it continued some
fourteen days, with seasonable weather intervening. It were hard to say
whether our withered corn or drooping affections were most quickened
and revived, such was the bounty and goodness of our God.”

Unexpectedly the withered corn thrust out green leaves and gave promise
of a joyful harvest. Even the Indians were impressed with this evidence
of divine interposition. Hobbomak said feelingly:

“Now I see that the Englishman’s God is a good God, for he hath heard
you and sent you rain, and without storms, tempest or thunder beating
down your corn. Surely your God is a good God.”

In the mean time, Captain Standish was sent out, with the shallop, and
a few men, to explore the coast and purchase all the corn he could of
the Indians. Valiant as he was in fight, he was, in ordinary life, a
mild and gentle man, and eminently just in all his dealings. Much as
the Indians dreaded his avenging arm, they seemed to be fully conscious
that he would do them no wrong. Early in August he returned from this
trading-voyage, with his shallop well loaded down with corn, which
proved invaluable to the Pilgrims until their own harvest should come

He brought back with him Mr. David Thompson, a Scotchman, who, with
a small party of emigrants, had commenced a plantation at the mouth
of the Piscataqua, where Portsmouth now stands. For these many tokens
of the divine goodness, Governor Bradford appointed another day of
thanksgiving. It may be instructive here to insert Governor Bradford’s
testimony respecting the effect of a community of goods, which
experiment was so fairly tried, and under such favorable circumstances,
at Plymouth:

“The experience which was had in this common course and condition,” he
writes, “tried sundry years, and that amongst godly and sober men, may
well evince the vanity of that conceit of Plato and other ancients, and
applauded by some of later times,--that the taking away of property,
and bringing a community into a commonwealth would make them happy and
flourishing; as if they were wiser than God. For this community, so far
as it was such, was found to breed much confusion and discontent, and
to retard much employment which would have been to their benefit and
comfort. For the young men, who were the most able and fit for labor
and service, did repine that they should spend their time and strength
to work for other men’s wives and children, without any recompense.

“The strong, or man of parts, had no more in the division of victuals
and clothes, than he that was weak and not able to do a quarter the
other could. This was thought injustice. The aged and graver men to
be ranked and equalized in labors, victuals, clothes, etc., with the
meaner and younger sort, thought it some indignity and disrespect
unto them. As for men’s wives to be commanded to do service for other
men, as dressing their meat, washing their clothes, etc., they deemed
it a kind of slavery, neither could many husbands well brook it. Let
none object, this is men’s corruption, and nothing against the course
itself. I answer, seeing all men have this corruption in them, God, in
his wisdom, saw another course fitter for them.”[37]

Early in August two ships arrived, the Anne and the Little James. The
latter was a small vessel of about forty-four tons, which was built
for the company and was to remain at Plymouth. The two vessels brought
sixty passengers. Some of them were very worthy people and constituted
a valuable addition to the colony. Others were such sad miscreants that
the Pilgrims instructed by the disasters which the Weymouth colonists
had caused, refused to receive them into their colony. The thriftless
creatures, unable to establish a settlement of their own, were
compelled to return to England.

The corn harvest was not yet ripe, and the newcomers were greatly
surprised at the destitution in which they found the colonists. “The
best dish,” writes Bradford, “they could present them with, was a
lobster or a piece of fish, without bread or anything else but a cup
of fair spring water.” The new-comers were afraid that the hungry
colonists would eat up all the provisions they had brought with them.
On the other hand the colonists were fearful that the new-comers would
devour their harvest of corn, which was scarcely sufficient for so
large an addition to their numbers. They therefore decided that each of
the parties should rely upon its own resources.

On the 10th of September the Anne returned to England, laden with
clapboards and furs. Mr. Winslow also sailed in her, on business for
the colony. The harvest was now in, and there was comparative plenty.
Many had raised more corn than their own families would consume, and
thus they had a supply to sell to others. About the middle of this
month Captain Robert Georges arrived in Massachusetts Bay with a number
of families, to commence a new plantation there. His grant of land was
very indefinite. It embraced all the land lying on the northeast side
of Massachusetts Bay, together with all the shores and coasts, for ten
English miles, in a straight line towards the northeast, and thirty
miles into the main land. He selected for his settlement, the spot
at Weymouth which had been abandoned by the Weston Colony. Governor
Georges visited Governor Bradford, where he met with a very kind

Some of the seamen, carousing in one of the houses, built a great fire
on a cold and windy night, which was communicated to the thatch, and
four houses were burnt down. The store-house was greatly endangered.
Its loss would have been irreparable. The Little James went on a cruise
to the coast of Maine, and there, in a violent storm, was wrecked.
Mid-winter now frowned around the Pilgrims as they entered upon a new
year, the year 1624.

Mr. Winslow returned from England, bringing with him two heifers and
a bull, an invaluable acquisition to the colonists, being the first
cattle that were brought over. As they had no money, corn had become
the circulating medium. With the opening spring all hands set to work
to raise as much corn as possible. This led to a petition to the
Governor to have a portion of land assigned, in perpetuity, to each
individual. When assigned yearly, by lot, that field which one man,
by skill and industry, had brought into a good state of cultivation,
was often taken from him, and he received, perhaps, instead, a field
neglected and overrun with weeds. The request was manifestly so
reasonable, that one acre was given to every man, as near the village
as might be, to be held seven years. It was deemed necessary, for
safety against the Indians, to keep as close together as possible.

With some internal disorders, the affairs of the colony went on
prosperously during the year, nothing occurring to call the energies of
Captain Standish into requisition. The colony numbered one hundred and
eighty souls. They had some cattle and goats, quite a number of swine,
and numerous poultry. Thirty-two dwelling houses were now occupied. The
palisades which surrounded the village were half a mile in extent. A
well-built fort stood upon Burial Hill.

Mr. Winslow made a trading-voyage eastward one hundred and fifty miles,
in an open boat, “up a river called the Kennebec.” He brought home
seven hundred pounds of beaver and other furs, having exchanged corn
for them. It was mid-winter, and they encountered much tempestuous
weather. The boat was built by their ship carpenter, and had a small
deck over her midships to keep the corn dry. But the men were exposed,
unsheltered to winter on the coast of Maine. These furs were purchased
of the natives, at a small price, and were sold in London at a great

The Pilgrims wished to hire money with which to purchase in England
the commodities which the Indians greatly prized, and which they could
exchange with them for furs. Captain Standish was sent to England to
adjust certain difficulties which had arisen between the colonists and
their partners in London, and also to hire money with which to purchase
goods to trade with the Indians. But the Captain arrived in London at a
very unfortunate hour. The city was then desolated by that awful plague
which was sweeping thousands into the grave. It would also appear that
the credit of the colony was far from good. With great difficulty
Captain Standish succeeded in raising seven hundred and fifty dollars,
for which he paid the enormous interest of fifty per cent. The risk to
the lender was indeed great. The only chance the colonists had to pay
the debt, was mainly in sending home furs. But the ships thus laden had
to run the gauntlet of the hostile fleets of France and Turkey, with
both of which powers England was then at war.

Captain Standish expended the small sum he had raised, in trading
commodities. He also brought back the mournful intelligence of the
death of the Reverend Mr. Robinson, who died at Leyden the 1st of
March, 1625. There were so many vessels sent from England to the coast
of Maine, engaged in the fishing business, that the colonists, in
consequence of the competition, relinquished the fisheries, and engaged
in trading and planting, both of which had now become profitable.
Immense numbers of fishes were, however, taken at their very door,
which were used to enrich the fields.

The rapid brook of fresh water, which ran at the south side of the
town, took its rise in several lakes in the land above. Early in
May vast shoals of herring darkened the waters as they ascended the
brook from the sea to deposit their spawn in the lakes. The colonists
constructed, at the mouth of this brook, a sort of net, made of planks
and trellis work, so that at one tide they would often take twelve
thousand fishes. Three or four were deposited in each hill of corn,
which promoted a luxuriant growth. This corn was eagerly purchased by
the Indians, they paying one pound of beaver skin for one bushel of
corn. Fishing vessels occasionally called and purchased their corn at
six shillings a bushel. Several other colonies were also established,
which needed supplies. Thus days of prosperity dawned upon the colony,
which had so long struggled with adversity. But little occurred during
the year 1626 worthy of especial notice. The coasting-trade was
becoming increasingly important. Governor Bradford writes:

“Finding they ran a great hazard to go so long voyages in a small,
open boat, especially in the winter season, they began to think how
they might get a small pinnace. They had no ship carpenter among them,
neither knew how to get one at present. But they having an ingenious
man, who was a house carpenter, who had also wrought with the ship
carpenter that was dead, when he built their boats, at their request,
he put forth himself to make a trial that way, of his skill, and took
one of the biggest of the shallops and sawed her in the middle, and
so lengthened her some five or six feet, and strengthened her with
timbers, and so built her up and laid a deck on her, and so made her
a convenient and wholesome vessel, very fit and comfortable for their
use, which did them service seven years. And thus passed the affairs of
this year.”[38]

The prospects of the colony had so far brightened that Mr. Allerton,
who had been sent to England this year, succeeded in raising one
thousand dollars at thirty per cent interest. During the year 1625
Captain Wollaston, with thirty emigrants, commenced a settlement at a
place they named Mount Wollaston, in the northerly part of Braintree,
now Quincy, in Massachusetts. Most of these emigrants were men
of low condition, the hired laborers of Wollaston. He soon became
discontented, and took a large portion of his servants to Virginia,
where he disposed of their labor as best he could. He left a man by
the name of Fitcher to guide the labor of those who remained until
his return. In the mean time one Thomas Morton, “a pettifogging
attorney of Furnival’s Inn, a man of low habits,” succeeded in
persuading those who were left to renounce the authority of Fitcher,
and to live on terms of perfect equality and freedom, without any
laws whatever. He arranged a great feast, and induced the men, in the
frenzy of intoxication, to drive Fitcher from the settlement. They then
entered upon an astonishing course of rioting and drunkenness. They
prosecuted vigorously a trade with the natives, which was forbidden
by royal charter, of muskets, powder and bullets. This trade was very
profitable. The Indians, eager to obtain muskets, would pay almost any
sum for them. Morton taught them how to use the guns, and employed them
to hunt, purchasing their furs.

Thus they rioted in abundance, and disgraced themselves with the most
shameless indulgence in profanity and profligacy. They erected a
May-pole, and danced around it with the Indian women. In accordance
with these scenes of revelry, they changed the name of the place to
Merry Mount. Morton was an Atheist: teaching that this was the only
life; that there was no responsibility to God, and that it was the part
of wisdom to indulge freely in all one’s desires.

This state of things created great alarm, in all the various
settlements, which had by this time been established. The Indians, if
once supplied with European weapons of war, could easily, by combining,
destroy all the colonies. Governor Bradford complains very bitterly of
the peril. The Indians had muskets in abundance; they were taught how
to repair their muskets when injured; they were furnished with moulds
for running bullets of various sizes.

“Yea,” writes Governor Bradford, “some have seen them have their
screw-plates to make screw-pins themselves, when they want them, with
sundry other implements, wherewith they are ordinarily better fitted
and furnished than the English themselves. It is well known that they
will have powder and shot when the English want it, and cannot get it;
and yet in a time of war or danger, as experience hath manifested,
when lead hath been scarce, and men for their own defense would gladly
have given four pence a pound, which is dear enough, yet hath it been
bought up and sent to other places, and sold to such as trade it with
the Indians at twelve pence a pound. And it is likely the Indians give
three or four shillings the pound, for they will have it at any rate.

“And these things have been done in the same times when some of their
neighbors and friends are daily killed by the Indians, or are in danger
thereof, and live but at the Indians’ mercy. Yea, some have told them
how gunpowder is made, and all the materials in it, and that they
are to be had in their own land; and I am confident that could they
attain to make saltpetre they would teach them to make powder. Oh
the horribleness of this villainy! How many, both Dutch and English,
have been lately slain by those Indians thus furnished! And no remedy
provided, nay the evil more increased, and the blood of their brethren
sold for gain; and in what danger all these colonies are is too well

“Oh! that princes and parliaments would take some timely order to
prevent this mischief and, at length to suppress it, by some exemplary
punishment upon some of those gain-thirsty murderers, for they deserve
no better title, before their colonies in these parts be overthrown by
these barbarous savages, thus armed with their own weapons, by these
evil instruments and traitors to their neighbors and country.

“But I have forgotten myself, and have been too long in this
digression; but now to return. This Morton having thus taught them
the use of muskets he sold them all he could spare; and he and his
consorts determined to send for many out of England, and had, by some
of the ships, sent for above a score. The which being known, and his
neighbors meeting the Indians in the woods, armed with guns in this
sort, it was a terror unto them who lived strugglingly and were of no
strength in any place. And other places, though more remote, saw that
this mischief would quickly spread over all if not prevented. Besides,
they saw they should keep no servants, for Morton would entertain any,
how vile soever, and all the scum of the country, or any discontents
would flock to him from all places, if this nest was not broken; and
they would stand in more fear of their lives and goods, in a short
time, from this wicked and debauched crew, than from the savages

The leading men of several settlements met together to deliberate upon
what measures to adopt in this emergence. The Plymouth colony was
stronger than all the rest united.

The delegates came from Plymouth, from the trading-house at the
Kennebec, from the small settlement at Salem, from Weymouth, and from
several other places where infant settlements had been commenced. They
decided to write a joint and friendly letter to Morton, informing him
of the danger to which he was exposing all the English, and entreating
him, out of regard to the common safety, to change his course. A
messenger was sent with this letter, and to bring back an answer.
Morton replied insultingly and defiantly, saying that they were
meddling with that which they had no concern; that he should continue
trade with the Indians just as he pleased, selling them muskets, powder
and shot, without asking any one’s advice. The answer throughout was
couched in the most insulting terms.

Again, with the most singular moderation, a messenger was sent to him
with another friendly letter, saying that they were consulting, not for
selfish interests, but for the good of all alike; that the lives of all
were endangered, and that the King’s proclamation had forbidden the
sale of fire-arms to the savages. Another insolent answer was returned.
He assured them that he cared neither for the King’s proclamation nor
for them; and that if they thought they could coerce him, they might
come on as soon as they pleased; he was ready for them.

It was now manifestly time to summon the energies of Captain Standish
to the rescue. He was exactly the man for the occasion. With a small
body of armed men, eight in number, as valiant as himself, Captain
Standish set out for Merry Mount. In some way, Morton had heard of his
approach. With his desperate men he had barricaded himself in a strong
log house, with an ample supply of powder and balls. They well knew the
reputation of the foe they were to encounter, and in order to stimulate
their waning courage, had all become drunk. From their fortress, which
they deemed impregnable, they shouted their scurrilous defiance to the
Captain and his little band. There are men with whom apparently the
most reckless bravery is combined with prudence and sound judgment; who
seem to be endowed with a sort of instinct which teaches them when an
act of seeming desperation may be demanded by wisdom. Captain Standish
was such a man.

He was making arrangements to carry the house, perhaps by approaching
it from some unguarded point, and setting it on fire, when Morton,
drunk as he was, saw his danger. Selecting a few of his men, he
emerged from his fortress, with the intention of making a sudden and
simultaneous rush upon Captain Standish, and shooting him. Morton
himself was so intoxicated that, as afterwards found, his carbine was
overloaded, being nearly half filled with powder and shot.

The captain, though of short stature, possessed dignity of character
and authority of bearing which often overawed his foes. Without a
moment’s hesitation, he advanced with stately tread upon Morton,
totally regardless of his weapon, seized him by the collar, wrenched
the gun from his hands, and delivered him over to his men, a humiliated
and helpless captive. The rest of the drunken crew, deprived of their
leader, were deemed powerless. The culprit was taken to Plymouth, and
was sent to England by the first vessel that sailed, there to be tried
for his crimes.

The Pilgrims, at Plymouth, had for some time been in the habit of
sending yearly to the fishing-grounds off Cape Ann for a supply of
cod. They had erected quite a commodious stage upon the cape, where
they dressed and dried their fish. Some London adventurers fitted out
a fishing vessel for the cape, and arriving there before the Plymouth
people, took possession of their stage, which they refused to surrender
when the Pilgrims came and demanded their own.

The code militaire was, at this time, the rule of life with Captain
Standish. He would do no wrong; and he would submit to no wrong. He was
immediately sent to Cape Ann to adjust the difficulty. There was no
room for question about the right and wrong in the case. The new-comers
had stolen the property of the Pilgrims. Captain Standish peremptorily
demanded its restoration. The thieves barricaded themselves on the
stage. Captain Standish prepared for battle, and would doubtless have
recovered the stage by force. “But Mr. Conant,” writes Baylies, “who
dwelt there, and who was a man of a mild and conciliatory disposition,
and Captain Pierce, a fast friend of the Plymouth people, also
happening to be there with his ship, interposing their good offices,
the dispute was compromised, the ship’s crew having promised to build
another stage.”[39]

Emigration to the New World was now rapidly increasing. Many new
settlements sprang up and many worthless characters came over, lured
by the love of adventure. Not a few of these came to the flourishing
Plymouth colony. This led to a new organization of the colony, the
details of which it is not necessary to enter into here. The company
in London, who had obtained the charter from the King and held the
territory, sold out their whole property to the colonists, for nine
thousand dollars, to be paid in nine annual instalments of one thousand
dollars. The general features of this important change is thus given by

“Every head of a family, and every prudent young man who was of age,
both of the first and later comers, were admitted into a general
partnership; and all agreed that the trade should be managed as usual,
devoting all its profits to the payment of the debt; that every single
freeman should have a single share, and that every father of a family
should have leave to purchase a share for himself, another for his
wife, and one for each of his children who lived with him, and that
every one should pay his share of the debts, according to his number of
shares. One cow and two goats were divided by lot to every six shares,
and the swine in proportion. And to every share, in addition to the
acre lots, which they already held, and the gardens and homestead of
which they were possessed, twenty acres of tillage land was assigned
by lot, which were to be five acres broad on the water and four acres

The meadow lands, for mowing, being quite small in extent, were held
in common, mowing places being assigned, as the seasons came around,
to all the families, according to their number of cattle. As the
Pilgrims were living in constant apprehension of a combination of the
Indians against them, it was deemed important that they should not be
widely scattered in their fields of labor. A sudden attack might expose
them to destruction, unless they could be speedily rallied. Twenty
acres of land was much more than any one man could cultivate with the
agricultural facilities then at their control. It was therefore agreed,
before any lots were cast, that those whose lots should fall next to
the town, should take a neighbor or two, whom they best liked, to plant
corn with them for four years. By that time it was supposed the colony
would be out of danger from any hostile attack. This arrangement gave
general satisfaction, and inspired the colonists with new energies.


_Increase and Growth of the Settlements._

  The Virginia Emigrants.--Humanity and Enterprise of the Governor.--
      Envoy Sent to England.--Trading Posts on the Kennebec and
      Penobscot Rivers.--Capture by the French.--The Massachusetts
      Colony.--Its Numbers and Distinguished Characters.--Trade
      with the Indians.--Wampum the New Currency.--Trading Post at
      Sandwich.--Sir Christopher Gardener.--Captain Standish Moves to
      Duxbury.--Lament of Governor Bradford.

An incident occurred at this time, quite interesting, as illustrative
of the adventurous life upon which these men had entered, in the
wilderness of this New World; a life of excitement and heroic
achievements, with its full share of earthly joys as well as griefs.

A ship, laden with passengers and goods, left England for Virginia.
The captain was taken sick, so that he could not leave his cabin.
The inefficient mate became bewildered. After six weeks at sea their
provisions were exhausted. Starvation stared them in the face. Knowing
not where they were, in the night, and in a gale of wind, they were
almost miraculously swept over the shoals of Cape Cod, and striking
a sand bar, were driven over it into a little bay, then called
Manamoyake, now Chatham. The vessel leaking badly, with many of her
planks sprung, was forced high upon the beach, so that, with the
receding tide, not only the crew safely landed, and the cargo, though
much damaged with salt water, was taken on shore.

The shipwrecked people, rejoicing to have escaped with their lives,
reared their huts upon the shore, not knowing where they were or what
would become of them. While in this state of suspense and sadness,
they were alarmed one morning in seeing several birch canoes coming
around a headland filled with Indians. They seized their guns and
stood upon defense. But the Indians paddled rapidly along as if
apprehending no harm, and addressing them in English, inquired if they
were the Governor of Plymouth’s people, or his friends. The Indians
told them where they were, offered to conduct them to Plymouth, or to
take letters for them. The Englishmen were greatly comforted by this
intelligence. They gave the Indians several valuable presents from
their shipwrecked stores, and despatched, under their guidance, two
men, with a letter to Governor Bradford, entreating him to send a boat
to them with spikes, oakum, pitch and sundry other materials, with
which they hoped to repair their vessel, and again to get her afloat
from her soft bed in the sand.

The Governor immediately loaded a large boat with the needful
articles, including a generous supply of corn, and taking also trading
commodities with which to buy additional supplies of the Indians,
went himself to the aid of his unfortunate countrymen. It was winter,
when the chill sea was swept by angry storms. It was not safe, at
that season, in the boat, to attempt to sail around the head of the
cape, and to brave the storms of the Atlantic on the eastern shore.
He therefore sailed across the bay in a southeasterly direction, and
entering Barnstable Bay, ascended a little creek called Namskeket,
which ran inland nearly a mile. From the head of this creek it was
but two miles across the cape to Manamoyake Bay, where the vessel was

The Indians, accustomed to portages, were readily hired to transport
the articles across the land. The shoulders of the Indian women would
bear very heavy burdens. The arrival of the Governor with the abundant
supplies caused great rejoicing. He spent a few days with them, and
then, returning to his boat, sailed along the inner coast till he
had purchased of the natives a full cargo of corn, with which he
replenished the granaries at Plymouth.

The stranded vessel was repaired and floated, when another fierce
tempest arose, and she was driven, a hopeless wreck, upon the shore.
The beach in Chatham, where she was stranded, is still called the “Old
Ship.” Remains of the wreck were visible within the present century.

Some of these shipwrecked emigrants were men of wealth, bringing
with them many servants to cultivate large estates in Virginia. But
the majority were men in the humble walks of life. Application was
immediately made to Governor Bradford that they all might be permitted
to repair to Plymouth, and to remain there until they should have the
means to convey themselves to Virginia. The humane Pilgrims, ever ready
to do a kind deed, without hesitancy acceded to their request. Boats
were sent up the Namskeket Creek, and with great labor the shipwrecked
emigrants and their goods were transported to the Christian colony.

“After they were hither come,” writes the Governor, “and something
settled, the masters desired some ground to employ their servants
upon, seeing it was like to be the latter end of the year before they
could have passage for Virginia, and they had now the winter before
them; they might clear some ground and plant a crop, to help bear
their charge, and keep their servants in employment. And if they had
opportunities to depart before the same was ripe, they would sell it on
the ground. So they had ground appointed them in convenient places.”

Among these emigrants there were many irreligious and disorderly men.
Some were men of high character, who were highly appreciated by the
Pilgrims. But there was general rejoicing in the little colony at the
end of the summer, when two vessels arrived from England, and conveyed
them to their original destination in Virginia.

It was now decided to build a pinnace, on the southern coast of the
Cape, so that they could easily run along the shore there, in both
directions, engaging in trade with the Indians. About twenty miles
south of Plymouth, upon the shore of Buzzard’s Bay, in the present
town of Sandwich, there was a small harbor called Manomet, which the
Pilgrims had not unfrequently visited. Sailing down from Plymouth on
the north side, they could approach this spot within about four or
five miles. Thus all the furs and corn which they could purchase on
the south and eastern shores of the cape, could be sent across this
“carrying place,” and thence could be conveyed to Plymouth, avoiding
the dangerous navigation around the cape. A boat-house was built here,
and also a dwelling-house, where a few agents were stationed, to
navigate the boat and to engage in agriculture. The enterprise proved
eminently successful.

Again the company sent Mr. Allerton to England with a cargo of furs,
to meet their engagements there, and to obtain authority to establish
a trading-post on the Kennebec River. The Dutch were establishing
trading-posts and agricultural colonies near the mouth of the Hudson,
and many friendly messages and courteous acts were interchanged between
these two parties. There were many English refugees in Leyden who, upon
the death of their pastor, Mr. Robinson, were anxious to join their
friends in America. They had expressed this desire very earnestly; but
they were poor. They were unable to provide themselves with an outfit,
or even to pay for their passage across the Atlantic. In order to aid
these exiled and impoverished brethren, Governor Bradford, Captain
Standish, and several others, formed a company and purchased of the
Plymouth colony all their right to trade with the Indians for six
years. For this they paid twelve thousand dollars. The main object of
the purchasers seemed to be to raise money enough to bring over their
friends from Holland. There were eight of the Pilgrim fathers united
with four gentlemen in London who assumed these responsibilities. Very
truly Mr. Baylies writes:

“The generosity of the chiefs of the colony to their Leyden brethren is
unparalleled. They almost deprived themselves of the common necessaries
of life to get them over, and to support them until they were able to
support themselves; laboring at the same time under heavy debts, for
which they paid exorbitant interest. But their necessities seemed only
to stimulate them to greater exertions.”[40]

This new company, having obtained a patent for a trading-post on the
Kennebec River, erected a house in a place called Cushenoe, now the
city of Augusta. Here they collected, for purposes of trade, a large
supply of coats, shirts, rags, blankets, biscuit, pease, etc. In the
month of August, 1629, thirty-five families arrived at Plymouth from
Leyden. Nine months after, in May, 1630, another ship arrived, bringing
several more families. The new company, of which the Governor and the
captain were the principal men, paid all their expenses, though they
amounted to two thousand seven hundred dollars. Houses were assigned
to them; grounds were purchased for them, and they were fed from the
public stores for more than a year. When we remember that there was
no blood relationship between these parties, no partnership, no bond
of union excepting Christian charity; that the benefactors were poor,
struggling for their own support, and that many of those whom they were
thus aiding they had never seen before, we must regard this act as one
of extraordinary generosity.

A trading-post had been established on the Penobscot River, at a
point called Bagaduce, now Castine. Here a very lucrative trade was
transacted with the Indians, mainly in furs. The French claimed this
post as within their domain. A small French vessel entered the bay,
and finding the post defenceless, rifled it of all its contents, and
carried off three hundred pounds of beaver skins and other property
to the value of over two thousand dollars. Governor Bradford, in his
description of this annoying event, writes:

“It was in this manner: The master of the house, and part of the
company with him, were come with their vessel to the westward to fetch
a supply of goods which was brought over for them. In the mean time
comes a small French ship into the harbor; and amongst the company was
a false Scot. They pretended that they were newly come from the sea,
and knew not where they were, and that their vessel was very leaky,
and desired that they might haul her ashore and stop her leaks. And
many French compliments they used and conges they made. And in the end,
seeing but three or four simple men, that were servants, and by this
Scotchman understanding that the master and the rest of the company
were gone from home, they fell of commending their guns and muskets
that lay upon racks by the wall-side. They took them down to look on
them, asking if they were charged. And when they were possessed of
them, one presents a piece, ready charged, against the servants, and
another a pistol, and bid them not stir, but quietly deliver up their
goods. They carried some of the men aboard, and made the others help to
carry away the goods. And when they had taken what they pleased, they
set them at liberty and went their way with this mockery, bidding them
tell their master when he came, that some of the Isle of Rye gentlemen
had been there.”

The emigration from England rapidly increased and, ere long, the colony
numbered fifteen hundred souls. In the year 1628, John Endicot, with a
party of emigrants, established rather a feeble settlement at Salem,
then called Naumkeag. On the 30th of May, 1630, another party commenced
a colony at Dorchester, then called Mattapan. In the months of June
and July of the same year, a fleet of eleven vessels arrived from
England, bringing over a large number of passengers, and, after some
deliberation, they selected what is now Charlestown for their principal
settlement. A part of the company went to Watertown. About fifteen
hundred came over during the year.

The Puritans in England were now gaining the ascendency. Men of
influence and rank were joining them. They were not at all disposed to
bow the knee to those who had heretofore been their persecutors. The
eminent John Winthrop came as Governor of the powerful Massachusetts
colony, which colony was stronger in numbers, and far stronger in
wealth and influence, when it first landed, than was the Plymouth
Colony after long years of struggle with the hardships of the
wilderness. Governor Winthrop was a gentleman of culture, position and
wealth. Two of the emigrants, Humphry and Johnson, had married sisters
of the Earl of Lincoln. Sir Richard Saltonstall, who was one of their
number, was son of the Lord Mayor of London. There were many others,
men of family and fortune, who, having lived in the enjoyments of large
estates, were accustomed to all the refinements of polished society.
Others, such as Hampden, Cromwell and Pym, who subsequently became
conspicuous in the overthrow of the tyrannic throne of Charles I,
wished to join them, but were prevented by a royal edict.

As early as 1623 there were as many as fifty vessels engaged in
fishing on the New England coast. Several of these were owned by
parties in Dorchester, England. They sent a party of fourteen persons
to a spot near Cape Ann, where Gloucester now stands, to commence a
small settlement. It was their main object to provide a home upon the
land, to which the sailors might resort for refreshment and rest, and
where they might be brought under religious influences. The site
was purchased of the Plymouth colony. They carried out live stock,
and erected a house, with a stage to dry fish, and with vats for the
manufacture of salt. The experiment proved an utter failure, from the
incompetence of the colonists.

The New World, as affording facilities for promising homes, was
attracting ever increasing attention. This led to the organization
of a powerful company, who obtained a grant of lands extending from
the Atlantic to the Western Ocean, and in width, running from three
miles north of the Merrimac river to a line three miles south of the
Charles. The company invested with this immense territory consisted of
a number of private individuals, who, by their charter, became invested
with almost imperial powers. The Plymouth colonists recognized the
superior numbers, opulence and rank of their Massachusetts brethren,
and were ever ready to render to them the precedence. And though the
Massachusetts colonists were occasionally somewhat arrogant, as if
fully conscious of their superiority, they were generally just, and at
times even generous, to those brethren who were in entire accord with
them in religious faith, and whose virtues they could not but revere.

The advent of these colonists was a great blessing to the Indians. The
men of Plymouth and of Massachusetts, alike recognizing that universal
brotherhood which Christianity so prominently enforces, were disposed
to treat the Indians with the utmost kindness, and to do everything
in their power to elevate and bless them. They purchased their lands,
their corn and their furs, and paid fair prices for them, thus
introducing into their wigwams comforts of which they previously had
no conception. The Indians were thus stimulated to industry, and these
friendly relations would have continued, to the inestimable benefit
of both parties, but for the outrages inflicted upon the savages
by such godless wretches as the infamous Captain Hunt, the low and
thieving gang of Weymouth adventurers, and drunken sailors and reckless
vagabonds, who, fleeing from crimes in their own country, gave loose to
unrestrained passions in this New World.

The Pilgrims had no power to prevent these atrocities. The poor
savages, ignorant and degraded, knew not how to discriminate. If
drunken white men, vagabond sailors from some English vessel, pilfered
their wigwams, insulting their wives and daughters, there was no
law to which they could appeal, and, in their benighted state, the
only redress before them was to violate, with still more terrible
atrocities, with torture and flame and blood, the inmates of some white
man’s log house, the home, perhaps, of piety and prayer, where the
Indian, if hungry, would be fed, if sick, would be nursed with true
brotherly and sisterly tenderness. Thus, in God’s mysterious government
of this world, the consequences of the crimes of the vilest men fell
with awful desolation upon the heads of the best of men.

The Indians had no circulating medium. Indeed they had no trade among
themselves. In illustration of the benefits which the coming of
the Pilgrim Fathers conferred upon them, let us again refer to the
trading-post established, about twenty miles south from Plymouth,
at Manomet, now Sandwich. Here, upon a small but navigable stream,
a dwelling and storehouses were erected, where canoes and coasting
vessels from all along the shore, as far as New Amsterdam, at the mouth
of the Hudson, could meet in the exchange of their articles of value.
A land carriage of but about six miles, over the neck of the Cape, the
Suez of America, as it was then called, brought them to the waters of
Massachusetts Bay, and to intercourse with all the settlements and
Indian villages scattered along its shores. Indian runners could easily
transport the light articles of traffic, and thus the dangerous passage
around the vast peninsula of Cape Cod was avoided. Some circulating
medium seemed essential in the trade thus commenced and rapidly

The Narragansets and Pequots, residing upon Narraganset and Buzzard’s
Bays, made, from the small shells of a species of clam, a very
beautiful ornamental belt, called wampum. The shells, graceful in form,
beautifully colored and highly polished, were strung like beads, by a
hole drilled through the centre, or were woven into rich embroidery.
Three purple shells or six white ones were considered equivalent
to an English penny. A string, two yards in length, was valued at
five shillings. The Dutch, from New Amsterdam, sent cargoes to this
trading-post. Thus sugar, cloths of various texture, cutlery and garden
tools were obtained by the Indians. Friendly relations existed, and the
happiness thus fostered might have continued uninterrupted but for the
wickedness of men who were strangers to the principles which animated
the Pilgrims.

A powerful Indian chief had his seat upon an adjoining hill, at the
foot of which a busy Indian village was nestled. When the Dutch, at
the mouth of the Hudson, first heard of this post, they sent a small
trading-vessel to it, with very friendly letters to Governor Bradford.
They landed and marched up to the trading-house, accompanied by a band
of music. The trumpet notes, reverberating through those wilds, must
have emptied the Indian village to gaze upon the unwonted scene. The
Dutch commander sent an Indian runner to Governor Bradford, requesting
him to send a boat for him to the other side of the bay, as he could
not travel so far on foot through the Indian trails. A boat was at
once despatched to what is now called Scussett, and the chief men of
the Dutch party were conveyed to Plymouth, where they were received
with the highest honors. They remained several days with the Pilgrims,
enjoying their profuse hospitality, and were then sent back in the
boat. The friendly intercourse thus commenced, was continued for
several years uninterrupted. Governor Bradford, speaking of the trade
thus introduced, and of its great advantage to the Indians, writes:

“But that which turned most to their profit, in time, was an entrance
into the trade of wampum. Strange it was to see the great alteration
it made in a few years among the Indians themselves. For all the
Indians of these parts and the Massachusetts had none or very little
of it, excepting the chief and some special persons, who wore a little
of it for ornament. It being only made and kept by the Pequots and
Narragansets, who grew rich and potent by it; whereas, the rest, who
use it not, are poor and beggarly.

“Neither did the English of this plantation, or any other in the land,
till now, that they had knowledge of it from the Dutch, so much as know
what it was, much less that it was a commodity of that worth and value.
But after it grew thus to be a commodity in these parts, these Indians
fell into it also, and to learn how to make it. It hath now continued
a current commodity about this twenty years, and it may prove a drug
in time. In the mean time it makes the Indians of these parts rich and

Such were the humble beginnings of the commerce of New England. The
very spot upon which this trading-house stood can now be pointed out.
“On it may the traveller pause and reflect how things then were!
how they now are! Now, on what sea, to what coast of the habitable
globe have not their descendants carried the products of their soil
and industry, outstripping all other nations, with only England as a

In the year 1630 the first public execution took place. It will be
remembered that one John Billington, a man of worthless character,
had, in some way, smuggled himself into the company of the Pilgrims.
He had two boys, who seem to have been as worthless as he himself.
Governor Bradford had written of him, “He is a knave, and so will
live and die.” He had already, in 1621, for vile abuse of Captain
Standish, been condemned to have his neck and heels tied together. For
some alleged injury or insult, he waylaid and shot a young man by the
name of John Newcomen. The murderer had adopted the opinion that the
colonists had no power granted them to inflict capital punishment.
He had a fair trial before a jury of twelve men. There was no doubt
whatever respecting his guilt. The court had some doubt as to its
authority to inflict the penalty of death, since the Council, from whom
its authority was derived, had no such power. The advice of Governor
Winthrop was sought, and that of the ablest men of the Massachusetts
colony. They advised, with perfect unanimity, “that the murderer ought
to die, and the land be purged from blood.” He was accordingly executed
in October, 1630.

In the year 1631, a singular event occurred. A very eccentric man,
calling himself Sir Christopher Gardner, visited Massachusetts. He was
descended, it is said, from the illustrious house of the Bishop of
Winchester, and in his extended travels had visited nearly all quarters
of the globe. At Jerusalem, he had been made knight of the Holy
Sepulchre. Weary, as he said, of the world, and desiring to do penance,
by bodily mortification, for his sins, he came to the Pilgrims,
offering to perform the most menial services for his living. Still he
brought over with him two servants, and a very fine-looking woman whom
he called his cousin. He endeavored to join the church, but they would
not receive him. Being guilty of conduct for which he was about to be
arrested and brought to trial, he fled into the wilderness, and took
refuge with the Indians. The Massachusetts authorities offered a reward
for his capture and return to them.

Some of the Namasket Indians came to Governor Bradford, from the
vicinity of Middleborough, and told him where Sir Christopher was,
and that they could easily kill him, but could not easily take him
alive; that he was a desperate man, and had a gun and sword, and that
he would certainly kill some of them should they attempt to take him.
The Governor told them by no means to kill him, but to watch their
opportunity and to capture him. They did so, and catching him one day
by the side of a river, endeavored to surround him. In his attempts to
escape, by getting into a canoe to cross the stream, as he presented
his musket to his pursuers, to keep them off the frail structure of
bark, swept by the current against a rock, turned under him, and he
was thrown, with his musket, into the water. Dripping, he reached the
shore, his musket no longer of any use, and his only resource the
rapier. He brandished that so fiercely that the Indians did not dare
close in upon him. They, however, got some long poles, and with blows
such as savages would be likely to strike, beat the sword out of his
hands, fearfully bruising and mangling them.

He being thus disarmed and rendered helpless, they seized him and
conveyed him to Governor Bradford. As the Governor looked upon the poor
man, with his arms and hands terribly inflamed and swollen, the Indians
said: “We did not hurt him; we only whipped him a little with our
sticks.” The Governor censured the Indians for beating him so cruelly,
and had his wounds tenderly nursed. Some papers upon his person showed
that he was a concealed papist, and one who had enjoyed the highest
advantages of university education. Governor Winthrop, being informed
of his apprehension, caused him to be brought to Massachusetts, and
then sent him immediately to England.

This man sent in a petition, which two others signed, to the British
Government, condemning severely both the colonies of Plymouth and
Massachusetts, stating that they intended rebellion; “that they meant
to be wholly separate from the church and laws of England, and that
their ministers and people did continually rail against the state, the
church and the bishops.”

Sir Richard Saltonstall, and two other prominent members of the
Massachusetts colony, were then in England. They were called before
the Council to answer the accusation. They did it in writing, and so
satisfactorily, as to draw from the Council a vote of approbation
instead of condemnation. They were also informed that, as freedom of
religious worship was one of the principal reasons of emigration to New
England, and that, as it was important to the government to strengthen
New England, it was not the intention of his Majesty to impose the
ceremonies of the Church of England upon the colonists.

The first party of colonists for Massachusetts embarked in six vessels.
It consisted of three hundred men, eighty women, married and single,
and twenty-six children, with an abundant outfit of food, clothing,
tools, and military weapons, and “a plentiful provision of godly
ministers.” Mr. Francis Higginson, one of the most prominent of these
emigrants, soon after his arrival wrote home saying:

“When we first came to Naumkeag, we found about half a score of houses,
and a fair house newly built for the Governor. We found also abundance
of corn planted by them, very good and well liking. And we brought with
us about two hundred passengers and planters more, which, by common
consent of the old planters, were all combined together in one body
politic, under the same Governor. There are in all of us, both old
and new planters, about three hundred, whereof two hundred of them
are settled at Naumkeag, now called Salem and the rest have planted
themselves at Massachusetts Bay, beginning to build a town there which
we do call Charlestown.

“But that which is our greatest comfort and means of defense above all
others is, that we have here the true religion and holy ordinances of
Almighty God taught among us. Thanks be to God we have here plenty
of preaching and catechizing, with strict and careful exercise and
good and commendable orders to bring our people into a Christian
conversation, with whom we have to do withal. And thus we doubt not
that God will be with us; and if God be with us, who can be against

About that time an Episcopal clergyman, by the name of William
Blackstone, was the sole occupant and proprietor of the peninsula of
Boston, then called Shawmut. The water at Charlestown was not good.
But there was a very fine supply of crystal water gushing abundantly
from a spring in Shawmut. Rev. Mr. Blackstone, had left England because
“he disliked the power of the Lords-Bishops.” By his invitation many
were led to transfer their habitations across the water, to the
forest-covered peninsula, and thus were laid the foundations of the
renowned capital of New England.

In the year 1632 Plymouth colony was in a state of greater prosperity
than ever before. Increasing troubles in England and encouraging
reports from America gave new impetus to the spirit of emigration.
The products of agriculture were in greater demand. Cattle of all
kinds had much increased, and brought high prices. More land was
required for cultivation. All the land in Plymouth was occupied, and
still new settlers were coming. Fears of any attack on the part of the
Indians had greatly subsided. Enterprising men began to push into the
surrounding region, seeking choice localities and larger farms.

Just across the bay of Plymouth, on the north, there was a reach of
land commanding a fine view of the little settlement at Plymouth and
of the adjacent waters. Captain Standish selected for himself a very
attractive location there, including what is still called “Captain’s
Hill.” Here the descendants of an ancestor so illustrious are now
rearing a monument to his memory.

The town was named Duxbury, in honor of the captain, as that was the
name of the seat which his family occupied in England. Elder Brewster
took a farm by his side. Here both of these distinguished men, warm
friends, could often be seen in their solitary fields, clearing away
the forests, where no sound of the axe had ever before been heard since
the creation of the world. These lands were deemed among the best in
the colony. Governor Bradford seems to have deplored the gradual
dispersion of the colonists. He wrote in terms of lamentation:

“Now as their stocks increased and their increase was vendible, there
was no longer holding them together. They could not otherwise keep
their cattle; and having oxen grown they must have land for ploughing
and tillage. And no man now thought he could live, except he had cattle
and a great deal of ground to keep them; all striving to increase their
stocks. By which means they were scattered all over the bay, and the
town, in which they lived compactly till now, was left very thin, and,
in a short time, almost desolate. And if this had been all, it had been
less, though too much; but the church must also be divided.

“Those that lived on their lots, on the other side of the bay, called
Duxbury, could not long bring their wives and children to public
worship and church meetings here; but they sued to be dismissed and
to become a body of themselves. So they were dismissed, though very
unwillingly. To prevent any further scattering from this place, it was
thought best to give out some good farms to special persons who would
promise to live at Plymouth, and who would be likely to be helpful to
the church or commonwealth, and so to tie the lands to Plymouth as
farms for the same. There they might keep their cattle, and till the
land by some servants, and retain their dwellings here.

“And so some special lands were granted at a place general, called
Green’s Harbor, (Marshfield) where no allotments had been in the
former division; a place very well meadowed and fit to keep and rear
cattle, in good store. But alas! this remedy proved worse than the
disease. For within a few years those that had thus got footing tore
themselves away, partly by force, and partly by wearing out the rest
with importunity and pleas of necessity, so that they must either
suffer them to go, or live in continual opposition and contention. This
I fear will be the ruin of New England, at least of the churches of God


_The Courtship of Miles Standish._

  Removal to Duxbury.--Intercourse with the Dutch.--Trading Posts on
      the Connecticut.--Legend of the courtship of Miles Standish.--
      Personal Appearance of the Captain.--Proposition to John
      Alden.--His Anguish and Fidelity.--Interview with Priscilla.--
      The Indian Alarm.--Departure of Captain Standish.--Report of
      his Death.--The Wedding.

Notwithstanding the removal of Captain Standish across the bay, to his
beautiful and fertile farm there, he still took a very lively interest
in everything relating to the welfare of the colony, and of the little
village which he had been so instrumental in founding. Mr. Bradford had
for twelve successive years been chosen Governor. He was anxious to
be released from the cares of office. In the annual election of 1633,
he importuned for release so earnestly that the people yielded to his
request, and chose Edward Winslow as his successor. At the same time
seven assistants were chosen, of whom Captain Miles Standish was the

The Dutch, from the mouth of the Hudson, had explored the Connecticut
river. The natives were anxious to have a trading post established
on that beautiful stream, which was lined with Indian tribes. They
sent a delegation to Plymouth with this request. The Pilgrims were not
prepared to commence a settlement there, but they sent a small vessel
up the river, and had great success in their traffic. The Indians then
applied to the Governor of the Massachusetts colony. But he was not
inclined to embark in an enterprise so difficult, where the post could
only be reached by a long and perilous voyage around Cape Cod, or by a
journey of many days through a pathless forest.

Some however of the private members of both of these colonies
foreseeing the danger that the Dutch might anticipate them there, held
a conference at Boston with some of the prominent men of Plymouth, and
tried to form a partnership to engage in the undertaking. They were
however discouraged by the representations which were made to them. It
was urged that the Indians were very numerous, that they could bring
many thousand warriors into the field, that many of them were hostile,
that the river was difficult of access in consequence of a bar, and
that during seven months in the year it was closed by ice. Thus
influenced, they abandoned the enterprise.

In the mean time, the Earl of Warwick had obtained a patent of all the
land, extending west, one hundred and twenty miles from Narraganset
Bay, to the Dutch settlements at the mouth of the Hudson. This
included the whole of the present State of Connecticut. The Dutch heard
of this, and prepared to anticipate the English, by making an immediate
settlement on the Connecticut River. This roused Governor Winslow and
ex-Governor Bradford, and they determined immediately to commence a
settlement in that region. At the same time, they sent a courteous
message to Governor Winthrop, expressing the hope that their brethren
of Massachusetts would not be displeased with their adventure, since
the Massachusetts colony had declined embarking in the enterprise.

In the mean time, the Dutch had dispatched an expedition, accompanied
by quite an armed force, which ascended the river and, disembarking
where Hartford now stands, erected a fort and commenced a settlement.
Two pieces of ordnance were placed in position to sweep the river; and
they loudly proclaimed that they should not allow any of the English to
pass by.

The Plymouth colonists took a small vessel, which could easily cross
the bar at the mouth of the river, and placed on board of it the
frame of a house, with all the materials for putting it together.
The expedition was commanded by Lieutenant Holmes. When they arrived
opposite Hartford, the Dutch, standing by their guns with lighted
matches, ordered them to stop, threatening to shoot if they did not
immediately comply with the demand. But Holmes pushed boldly by, and
the Dutch commander did not venture to proceed to those measures of
violence, which would surely have brought down upon the Dutch colonies
the vengeance of the British navy.

Lieutenant Holmes proceeded a short distance farther up the river, to
a place called Nattawanute, now Windsor, where, near the mouth of a
little stream, he put up his house, which was both fort and dwelling,
surrounded it with palisades, and, unfurling the British flag, was
ready to bid defiance to all foes, whether Dutch or Indians.

The Dutch commander at Hartford sent word to the authorities at the
mouth of the Hudson of what had been done. Governor Van Twiller
dispatched an armed band of seventy men, with orders to tear down
the house at Windsor and drive away the occupants. He supposed that
this could easily be done without any bloodshed, and thus without
necessarily introducing war. But the intrepid Holmes was ready for
battle against any odds. The leader of the Dutch party saw that a
fierce conflict must take place, and one uncertain in its results. He
therefore came to a parley and finally retired. An immense quantity of
furs, beaver and otter skins, was this year sent to England, which
enabled the company to meet all its obligations.

It would be hardly warrantable, in a Life of Captain Miles Standish,
to omit reference to a remarkable legend with which his name has ever
been associated, though some have expressed the opinion that it was not
very clearly verified by authentic documents. A literary gentleman who
has investigated the subject more thoroughly probably than any other
person, writes in reference to these doubts: “The anecdote is in all
the histories. Why should it not be true? I am inclined to think it
is; and am willing to back it against most historic facts that are two
hundred years old.” The story, as it has drifted down to our times, is
in brief as follows. We give it as presented by Mr. Longfellow, in his
exquisite poem entitled “The Courtship of Miles Standish.” It is very
evident that Mr. Longfellow had minutely studied our early colonial
history, as the reader will perceive that he is very accurate in his
historical allusions. The poem opens with a description of Captain
Standish, in his lonely and humble log hut. His beautiful wife, Rose,
was one of the first who had died, and the place of her burial, like
that of others, was carefully concealed, that the Indians might not
perceive how the colony had become weakened:

 “In the old colonial days, in Plymouth, the land of the Pilgrims,
  To and fro in a room of his simple and primitive dwelling,
  Clad in doublet and hose and boots of Cordovan leather,
  Strode with a martial air Miles Standish, the Puritan Captain.
  Buried in thought he seemed, with his hands behind him, and pausing
  Ever and anon to behold his glittering weapons of warfare,
  Cutlass and corslet of steel, and his trusty sword of Damascus,
  Curved at the point and inscribed with its mystical Arabic sentence,
  While underneath in a corner were fowling piece, musket and matchlock.
  Short of stature he was, but strongly built and athletic,
  Broad in the shoulders, deep chested, with muscles and sinews of iron,
  Brown as a nut was his face, but his russet beard was already
  Flaked with patches of snow, as hedges sometimes in November.”

A very handsome young man, by the name of John Alden, shared with
Captain Standish the comforts and discomforts of the widower’s home. He
had fair hair, azure eyes and a Saxon complexion, and was sufficiently
unlike the Captain for them to be very warm friends. There could be
no rivalry between the gentle young man of books and romance, and the
stern veteran of facts and the sword. John Alden was deeply in love
with Priscilla, the most beautiful maiden in Plymouth. Death had robbed
her of both father and mother, and she was equally in love with John.
But the bashful student had not yet summoned courage to declare his
love. But it so happened that Captain Standish, without any knowledge
of his friend’s state of mind, had also turned his eyes to Priscilla,
as the successor of Rose. Conscious of his own imperfections as a
lady’s man, and fearful that he could not woo the beautiful maiden
in fitting phrase, he applied to his scholarly friend to speak in his
behalf. In the following melodious strains the poet gives utterance to
the Captain’s speech:

 “’Tis not good for man to be alone, say the scriptures,
  This I have said before, and again and again I repeat it,
  Every hour in the day I think it, and feel it, and say it.
  Since Rose Standish died, my life has been weary and dreary,
  Sick at heart have I been, beyond the healing of friendship.
  Oft, in my lonely hours, have I thought of the maiden Priscilla;
  She is alone in the world; her father and mother and brother
  Died in the winter together. I saw her going and coming,
  Now to the grave of the dead, now to the bed of the dying,
  Patient, courageous and strong, and said to myself, that if ever
  There were angels on earth, as there are angels in heaven,
  Two have I seen and known; and the angel, whose name is Priscilla,
  Holds in my desolate life the place which the other abandoned.
  Long have I cherished the thought, but never have dared to reveal it,
  Being a coward in this, but valiant enough for the most part.
  Go to the damsel Priscilla, the loveliest maiden of Plymouth,
  Say that a blunt old captain, a man not of words but of actions.
  Offers his hand and his heart, the hand and heart of a soldier;
  Not in these words, you know, but this in short is my meaning.
  I am a maker of war, and not a maker of phrases;
  You, who are bred as a scholar, can say it in elegant language,
  Such as you read in your books of the pleadings and wooings of lovers,
  Such as you think best adapted to win the heart of a maiden.”

Poor John Alden, the fair-haired, timid youth, was aghast, overwhelmed
with anguish. He tried to smile, but the nerves of his face twitched
with painful convulsions. He endeavored to excuse himself, but his
impetuous friend, whose commanding mind overawed him, would listen to
no excuse. To all John’s remonstrances he replied:

              “I was never a maker of phrases.
  I can march up to a fortress, and summon the place to surrender;
  But march up to a woman, with such a proposal, I dare not.
  I am not afraid of bullets, nor shot from the mouth of a cannon,
  But of a thundering ‘no!’ point blank from the mouth of a woman,
  That I confess I’m afraid of, nor am I ashamed to confess it.”

John Alden, anguish-stricken as he was, could not refuse. The strong
mind dominated over the weaker one. Agitated, almost convulsed with
contending emotions, he entered the paths of the forest, crossed the
brook which ran south of the village, and gathering a handful of
wild flowers, almost in delirium, approached the lonely dwelling of
Priscilla. As he drew near, he heard her sweet voice singing a hymn
as she walked to and fro beside the spinning-wheel. Priscilla met him
on the threshold, with a cordial greeting, hoping that he had come to
declare his love. He was greatly embarrassed, and after a long parley,
very awkwardly blurted out the words, that he had come with an offer of
marriage from Captain Miles Standish. Priscilla was amazed, grieved,
wounded. With eyes dilated with sadness and wonder, she looked into
John’s face and said, after a few moments of ominous silence:

 “If the great Captain of Plymouth is so eager to wed me,
  Why does he not come himself and take the trouble to woo me?
  If I am not worth the wooing, I surely am not worth the winning.”

John, exceedingly embarrassed, said, in unfortutunate phrase, that the
captain was very busy, and had no time for such things. The offended
maiden replied:

 “Has he no time for _such things_, as you call it, before he is married;
  Would he be likely to find it, or make it, after the wedding?”

Quite forgetting himself, John launched forth eloquently in the praise
of his military friend,

 “Spoke of his courage and skill, and all his battles in Flanders,
  How with the people of God he had chosen to suffer affliction,
  How, in return for his zeal, they had made him Captain of Plymouth.
  He was a gentleman born, could trace his pedigree plainly
  Back to Hugh Standish, of Duxbury Hall, in Lancashire, England,
  Who was the son of Ralph, and the grandson of Thurston de Standish;
  Heir unto vast estates, of which he was basely defrauded,
  Still bore the family arms, and had for his crest a cock argent
  Combed and wattled gules, and all the rest of the blazon.
  He was a man of honor, of noble and generous nature;
  Though he was rough, he was kindly; she knew how, during the winter,
  He had attended the sick, with a hand as gentle as woman’s.
  Somewhat hasty and hot, he could not deny it, and headstrong,
  Stern as a soldier might be, but hearty and placable always;
  Not to be laughed at and scorned, because he was little of stature,
  For he was great of heart, magnanimous, courtly, courageous;
  Any woman in Plymouth, nay, any woman in England,
  Might be happy and proud to be called the wife of Miles Standish.”

As Priscilla listened to this glowing and eloquent eulogy, it only
increased her admiration for the young and beautiful John Alden. She
had long loved him. Maidenly instinct taught her that she also was
beloved by him. Though this love had never been communicated to her in
words, it had again and again been expressed in loud-speaking glances
of the eye and in actions. With tremulous voice she ventured to reply,
“Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?”

The tone, the look which accompanied the words, revealed at once, to
the bashful youth, the love of Priscilla. A tempest of conflicting
emotions rushed into his soul. How could the magnanimous youth plead
his own cause, and thus apparently betray his friend. Perplexed,
bewildered, he burst from the house, like an insane man; hurried to
the sea shore, wandered along the sands, where the surf was breaking
with loud roar; bared his head to the ocean breeze, and endeavored in
vain to cool the fever, which seemed to burn in both body and soul. His
tender conscience condemned him as being unfaithful to his friend.

He could not, without a sense of guilt, supplant his friend; and
he could not live in Plymouth and refuse the hand of Priscilla, so
delicately and yet so decidedly proffered. Heroically he resolved to
return to England.

There was a vessel in the harbor which was to sail on the morrow. The
poet speaks of it as the returning Mayflower. Chronology will hardly
permit us to accept that representation. Rose Standish died on the 8th
of February, N. S. The Mayflower sailed, on her return voyage, the 5th
of April, but two months after the death of the wife Captain Standish
so tenderly loved. As the frenzied youth gazed upon the vessel riding
at anchor, and rising and falling upon the ocean swell, he exclaimed:

 “Back will I go o’er the ocean, this dreary land will abandon,
  Her whom I may not love, and him whom my heart has offended.
  Better to be in my grave, in the green old churchyard in England,
  Close by my mother’s side, and among the dust of my kindred;
  Better be dead and forgotten, than living in shame and dishonor
  Sacred and safe and unseen, in the dark of the narrow chamber
  With me my secret shall lie, like a buried jewel that glimmers
  Bright on the hand that is dust, in the chambers of silence and
  Yes, as the marriage ring of the great espousal hereafter.”

Thus resolving he hurried, in the gathering twilight, through the
glooms of the forest to the “seven houses” of Plymouth. He entered the
door of his home and found the Captain anxiously awaiting his return.
He had been gone long and was rather severely reproached for his
tardiness. He then gave a minute account of the interview. But when he
came to her declaration, “Why don’t you speak for yourself, John?” the
Captain rose from his seat in a towering passion. As he was vehemently
uttering his reproaches a messenger came, with the information that
hostile Indians were approaching. Instantly the bold warrior forgot
Priscilla, and all his displeasure at John Alden, in contemplation
of his immense responsibilities as military protector of the colony.
Hastily he girded on his armor and left the house. He found the leading
men already assembled in the council room. Upon the table lay the
skin of the rattlesnake, to which we have before alluded, filled with
arrows, with the Indian who brought it, by its side. Captain Standish
at once understood the significance of the mysterious gift. He said,

  “‘Leave this matter to me, for to me by right it pertaineth.
  War is a terrible trade; but in the cause that is righteous
  Sweet is the smell of powder; and thus I answer the challenge.’
  Then, from the rattlesnake’s skin, with a sudden contemptuous gesture,
  Jerking the Indian arrows, he filled it with powder and bullets,
  Full to the very jaws and handed it back to the savage,
  Saying in thundering tones, ‘Here, take it! this is your answer.’
  Silently out of the room then glided the glistening savage,
  Bearing the serpent’s skin, and seeming himself like a serpent,
  Winding his sinuous way in the dark to the depths of the forest.”

Early the next morning Captain Standish took eight men, well armed, and
marched, under the guidance of Hobomak, to the point where he supposed
the hostile Indians were gathering. The vessel was about to sail.
The signal gun was fired. All the inhabitants of the little village
flocked to the beach. The ship’s boat was at Plymouth rock, waiting to
convey the captain of the vessel, who was on shore, to the ship. He was
bidding his friends adieu and cramming the capacious pockets of his
storm coat with letters and packages. John Alden, with others, was
seen hurrying down to the sea shore. The captain stood with one foot on
the rock and the other on the gunwale of the boat, speaking his last
words and just ready to push off. Alden, in his despair, was about to
enter the boat, without any words of adieu to his friends, thinking in
absence and distance to find relief to his tortured feelings, when he
saw Priscilla looking sadly upon him.

 “But as he gazed on the crowd, he beheld the form of Priscilla
  Standing dejected among them, unconscious of all that passing.
  Fixed were her eyes upon his, as if she divined his intention,
  Fixed with a look so sad, so reproachful, imploring and patient,
  That, with a sudden revulsion, his heart recoiled from its purpose
  As from the verge of a crag, where one step more is destruction.”

Thus influenced, he abandoned his intention of returning to England
more suddenly than he had formed it. As he stepped back he said, with a
true lover’s fervor,

 “There is no land so sacred, no air so pure and so wholesome
  As is the air she breathes, and the soil that is pressed by her
  Here for her sake will I stay, and like an invisible presence
  Hover around her forever, protecting, supporting her weakness.
  Yes! as my foot was the first that stepped on this rock at the
  So, with the blessing of God, shall it be the last at the leaving.”

The captain of the ship sprang into the boat, waved an adieu to the
lonely band of exiles, numbering but about fifty men, women and
children, who were gathered upon the shore, and the boat, driven by
the sturdy arms of the rowers, soon reached the ship. The anchor was
raised, the sails unfurled, and the only link which seemed to connect
them with the home of their fathers was sundered. Long the saddened
Pilgrims stood gazing upon the vessel as it receded from their view,
and then returned to their lowly cabins, their homely fare, and to the
toils and perils of their life of exile.

 “So they returned to their homes; but Alden lingered a little,
  Musing alone on the shore and watching the wash of the billows.”

As he thus stood, lost in painful thought and almost distracted by the
perplexities in which he found himself involved, he perceived Priscilla
standing beside him. They had a long conversation together, which the
poet manages with admirable skill. The artless, frank, affectionate
Priscilla was unwittingly every moment exciting deeper emotions of
tenderness and admiration in the heart of her lover. And yet, in the
most painful embarrassment from respect to his friend Miles Standish,
he refrained from offering her, as he longed to do, his hand and heart.

In the mean time Captain Standish, at the head of his brave little
band, was tramping through the trails of the forest, through thickets
and morasses, over hills and across streamlets,

 “All day long, with hardly a halt, the fire of his anger,
  Burning and crackling within, and the sulphurous odor of powder,
  Seeming more sweet to his nostrils than all the scents of the forest.
  Silent and moody he went, and much he revolved his discomfort.”

After a march of three days, he is represented as coming to an Indian
encampment. The little cluster of huts was upon a meadow, with the
gloomy forest on one side, and the ocean surf breaking upon the other.
A few women were scattered around among the wigwams. A formidable
band of warriors, evidently on the war path, plumed and painted, and
thoroughly armed, were gathered around their council fires. As soon as
they saw the bright armor of the Pilgrims, as the brave little band
emerged from the forest, two of the chiefs, men of gigantic stature,
came forward to meet them. With much historic accuracy of detail
the poet describes the scene which ensued--a scene which has been
presented to the reader in the preceding narrative.

One of these was Pecksuot, the other Wattawamat. These burly savages,
huge as Goliath of Gath, met Captain Standish, at first with deceitful
words, hoping to disarm his suspicions. Through Hobbomak, the
interpreter, who had accompanied the Captain, they proposed to barter
their furs for blankets and muskets. But they soon saw, in the flashing
eyes of Captain Standish, that he was not to be thus beguiled. The
poet, giving utterance to authentic history in glowing verse, and
making use of almost the very expressions uttered by the savages,

 “Suddenly changing their tone, they began to boast and to bluster.
  Then Wattawamat advanced with a stride in front of the other,
  And with a lofty demeanor, thus vauntingly spake to the Captain:
  ‘Now Wattawamat can see, by the fiery eyes of the Captain,
  Angry is he in his heart; but the heart of the brave Wattawamat
  Is not afraid at the sight. He was not born of a woman,
  But on the mountain, at night, from an oak tree riven by lightning.’
  Forth he sprang at a bound, with all his weapons about him,
  Shouting, ‘Who is there here to fight with the brave Wattawamat?’
  Then he unsheathed his knife, and, whetting the blade on his left hand,
  Held it aloft and displayed a woman’s face on the handle,
  Saying, with bitter expression and look of sinister meaning,
  ‘I have another at home, with the face of a man on the handle;
  By and by they shall marry; and there will be plenty of children.’”

Pecksuot also indulged in similar language and gesture of insult and
menace, brandishing his gleaming knife, boasting that it could eat,
though it could not speak, and telling the Captain that he was so small
in stature that he ought to go and live with the women. Meanwhile many
Indians were seen stealthily creeping around, from bush to bush in the
forest, with the evident design of making a simultaneous attack upon
the little band of white men. Some of these Indians were armed with
muskets, others with arrows set on their bow strings. Nearer and nearer
they were approaching, to enclose him in the net of an ambush from
which there could be no escape. As Captain Standish watched with his
eagle eye these proofs of treachery, and listened to the insults and
threats of the herculean chiefs, who, he knew, were only waiting for
the fit moment to leap upon him,

 “All the hot blood of his race, of Sir Hugh and of Thurston de
  Boiled and beat in his heart, and swelled in the veins of his temples.
  Headlong he leaped on the boaster, and snatching his knife from its
  Plunged it into his heart; and, reeling backward, the savage
  Fell with his face to the sky, and a fiend-like fierceness upon it.
  Straight there arose from the forest the awful sound of the war-whoop,
  And, like a flurry of snow, on the whistling wind of December,
  Swift and sudden and keen came a flight of feathery arrows.”

This was followed by a discharge of musketry from the Pilgrims. A
bullet pierced the brain of Pecksuot, and he fell dead. The savages,
having lost both of their chiefs, fled like deer. As the head of
Wattawamat, the gory trophy of war, was sent to Plymouth, and was
exposed on the roof of the fort, Priscilla averted her face with terror
and, shuddering, thanked God she had not married such a man of war as
Captain Standish.

Month after month passed away, while the captain is represented as
scouring the land with his forces, watching the movements of the
hostile Indians, and thwarting their intrigues. Though Priscilla had
refused his hand, the bashful John Alden did not feel that he could, in
honor, take advantage of the absence of his friend, the Captain, and
seek her for his bride. So assuming simply the attitude of friendship,
the two lovers lived, with some degree of tranquility and in constant
intimacy, side by side.

 “Meanwhile, Alden at home had built him a new habitation,
  Solid, substantial, of timber, rough-hewn from the firs of the forest.
  Wooden-barred was the door, and the roof was covered with rushes,
  Latticed the windows were, and the window-panes were of paper,
  Oiled to admit the light, while wind and rain were excluded.”

The description which the poet gives of the intercourse between these
simple children of the wilderness, whose hearts glowed with purity
and love, is beautiful in its pastoral simplicity. At length the
tidings, very appalling to the Pilgrims, reached the little settlement,
that their redoubtable Captain had been slain in a battle with the
Indians--shot down by a poisoned arrow. It was said that he had been
led into an ambush, and, with his whole band, had perished. John and
Priscilla were together when an Indian brought this intelligence to
Plymouth. Both joy and grief flashed through the soul of John Alden.
His friend was dead. The bonds which had held John captive were forever
sundered. Scarcely knowing what he did, he threw his arms around
Priscilla, pressed her to his bosom, and devoutly exclaimed, “Those
whom the Lord hath united, let no man put them asunder.”

The wedding day soon came. The simple ceremony was performed by Elder
Brewster. All the Pilgrims were present.

 “Lo! when the service was ended, a form appeared on the threshold,
  Clad in armor of steel, a sombre and sorrowful figure.
  Why does the bridegroom start and stare at the strange apparition?
  Why does the bride turn pale and hide her face on his shoulder?
  Is it a phantom of air,--a bodiless, spectral illusion?”

It was Captain Miles. The report of his death was unfounded. He had
arrived unexpectedly in the village (for there were no mails in those
days), just in time to be present at the close of the wedding. With
characteristic magnanimity he advanced to the bridegroom, cordially
shook his hand and wished him joy.

                              “‘Forgive me,’ he said,
  ‘I have been angry and hurt--too long have I cherished the feeling;
  I have been cruel and hard, but now, thank God, it is ended.
  Mine is the same hot blood that leaped in the veins of Hugh Standish:
  Sensitive, swift to resent, but as swift in atoning for error.
  Never so much as now was Miles Standish the friend of John Alden.’”

In a similar strain he addressed the bride. The Pilgrims were
amazed and overjoyed to see their heroic Captain returned to them.
Tumultuously they gathered around him. Bride and bridegroom were
forgotten in the greeting which was extended to the Captain.

Some cattle had, by this time, been brought to the colony, and a
snow-white bull had fallen to the lot of John Alden. The animal was
covered with a crimson cloth upon which was bound a cushion. Priscilla
mounted this strange palfrey, which her husband led by a cord tied to
an iron ring in its nostrils. Her friends followed, and thus she was
led to her home.

 “Onward the bridal procession now moved to their new habitation,
  Happy husband and wife and friends conversing together.
  Pleasantly murmured the brook, as they crossed the ford in the forest,
  Pleased with the image, that passed like a dream of love through its
  Tremulous, floating in air, o’er the depth of the azure abysses;
  Down through the golden leaves the sun was pouring his splendors,
  Gleaming on purple grapes that, from branches above them suspended,
  Mingled their odorous breath with the balm of the pine and the
  Wild and sweet as the clusters that grew in the valley of Eschol;
  Like a picture it seemed of the primitive pastoral ages,
  Fresh with the youth of the world, and recalling Rebecca and Isaac,
  Old, and yet ever new, and simple and beautiful always,
  Love immortal and young in the endless succession of lovers,
  So, through the Plymouth woods, passed onward the bridal procession.”

Such is the poetic version of the legend of the Courtship of Miles
Standish. Nearly every event which the poet has woven into his
harmonious lines, is accurate even in its most minute details. We have
given but a meagre view of the beauties of this Idyl, and commend the
same, in full, to the perusal of the reader.


_The Trading-Posts Menaced._

  Menace of the Narragansets.--Roger Williams.--Difficulty on
      the Kennebec.--Bradford’s Narrative.--Captain Standish as
      Mediator.--The French on the Penobscot.--Endeavors to Regain
      the Lost Port.--Settlements on the Connecticut River.--
      Mortality among the Indians.--Hostility of the Pequots.--
      Efforts to Avert War.--The Pequot Forts.--Death of Elder
      Brewster.--His Character.

In the spring of the year 1632 an Indian runner came, in breathless
haste, into the village of Plymouth, with the intelligence that the
Narragansets, under Canonicus, were marching against Mount Hope, and
that Massassoit implored the aid of the Pilgrims. The chief of the
Wampanoags had fled, with a party of his warriors, to Sowams, in the
present town of Warren, R. I., where the Pilgrims had a trading-post.
It used to be said, in the French army, during the wars of Napoleon
I., that the presence of the Emperor, on the field of an approaching
battle, was equivalent to a re-enforcement of one hundred thousand men.
It seems to have been the impression, with both colonists and Indians,
that Captain Standish, in himself alone, was a resistless force. He was
immediately despatched to Sowams, _with three men_, to repel an army
of nobody knew how many hundreds of savage warriors.

Upon his arrival at Sowams, the captain soon learned that the
Wampanoags were indeed in serious peril. The Narragansets were
advancing in much strength. Captain Standish sent promptly a messenger
to Plymouth to forward a re-enforcement to him immediately, with
powder and muskets. As there was but little ammunition at that time in
Plymouth, application was made to Governor Winthrop, of Massachusetts,
for a supply. There were but few horses then in either of the colonies,
and the messenger returned on foot through the woods with twenty-seven
pounds of powder upon his back, which Governor Winthrop had contributed
from his own stores. Fortunately the Pequots, taking advantage of
the absence of the Narraganset warriors, made an inroad upon their
territory, which caused Canonicus to abandon his march upon Sowams and
to make a precipitate retreat to defend his own realms.

Mr. Roger Williams, whose name is one of the most illustrious in the
early annals of New England, had a little before this time come over to
Massachusetts. Being displeased with some things there, he left that
colony and came to Plymouth.

“Here,” writes Governor Bradford, “he was friendly entertained,
according to their poor ability, and exercised his gifts among them,
and after some time was admitted a member of the church. And his
teaching was well approved, for the benefit whereof I still bless God,
and am thankful to him, even for his sharpest admonitions and reproofs.
He this year began to fall into some strange opinions, and from opinion
to practice; which caused some controversy between the church and him,
and, in the end, some discontent on his part, by occasion whereof he
left them somewhat abruptly.”

In the year 1634 a serious difficulty occurred upon the Kennebec River.
The Plymouth colony claimed this river, and fifteen miles on each side
of it, by special patent. They thus were enabled to monopolize the very
important trade with the Indians. A man by the name of Hocking, from
the settlement at Piscataqua, with a boat load of goods, entered the
river, and ascending above the trading coast of the Plymouth colony,
commenced purchasing furs of the Indians. Mr. John Howland was in
command of the post at that time. He forbade the trade; but Hocking,
with insulting language, bade him defiance. Howland took a boat and
some armed men, and ascended the river to the spot where the heavily
laden boat of Hocking was riding at anchor, and earnestly expostulated
with him against his illegal procedings. The result we will give in
the words of Governor Bradford:

“But all in vain. He could get nothing of him but ill words. So he
considered that now was the season for trade to come down, and that
if he should suffer him to take it from them, all their former charge
would be lost, and they had better throw all up. So consulting with his
men, who were willing thereto, he resolved to put him from his anchors,
and let him drift down the river with the stream; but commanded the men
that none should shoot a shot upon any occasion, except he commanded

“He spoke to him again, but all in vain. Then he sent a couple in a
canoe to cut his cable, the which one of them performs. But Hocking
takes up a piece, which he had laid ready, and, as the bark sheared by
the canoe, he shot him, close under her side, in the head, so that he
fell down dead instantly.[44] One of his fellows, who loved him well,
could not hold, but with a musket shot Hocking, who fell down dead, and
never spake word. This was the truth of the thing.”

Mr. John Alden, probably the husband of Priscilla, was one of the men
in the bark with the Pilgrims. They returned to the trading post, much
afflicted by the untoward adventure. Not long after this Mr. Alden,
visiting Boston, was arrested for the deed, upon the complaint of a
kinsman of Hocking, and held to bail. The Massachusetts government
had no right of jurisdiction in the affair. But Governor Winthrop was
quite embarrassed to know what was best to be done in a case thus far
without any precedent. He wrote very courteously to Governor Winslow,
then Chief Magistrate of Plymouth, informing him of what had been done,
and enquiring if the Plymouth people would take action in a case which
seemed rather to belong to their jurisdiction.

“This we did,” writes Governor Winthrop, “that notice might be taken
that we did disavow the said action, which was much condemned of all
men, and which, it was feared, would give occasion to the king to send
a general governor over. And besides, it had brought us all, and the
gospel, under a common reproach, of cutting one another’s throats for

Governor Bradford was also greatly troubled, being apprehensive
respecting the influence it might exert upon the home government. He
speaks of the occurrence as “one of the saddest things that befel them
since they came.” There was embarrassment all around. It was hardly
consistent with the dignity of Plymouth to surrender the case to the
Massachusetts court. Mr. Alden, who had been arrested, was no actor in
the business. He simply happened to be in the boat, having gone to the
Kennebec with supplies.

Under these difficult circumstances Captain Standish was sent to
Massachusetts to consult with the authorities there upon the best
course to be pursued; to make explanations, and to endeavor to obtain
the release of John Alden. Great wisdom was requisite in discharging
the duties of this mission, combining conciliation with firmness. The
Captain was equal to the occasion. He represented that the Plymouth
people exceedingly regretted what had happened, but they felt that they
were not the aggressors, but had acted in self defense. It was admitted
that one of their servants had shot Hocking, but that he had first shot
Talbot, and would have killed others had he not himself been killed.
It was urged that the Massachusetts colony had no jurisdiction in the
case, and that it had done unjustly in imprisoning, and arraigning
before its court, one of the Plymouth men. The spirit of conciliation
manifested by both parties was admirable, as is manifest in the
following admission made to the Massachusetts court, as recorded by
Governor Bradford:

“But yet, being assured of their Christian love, and persuaded that
what was done was out of godly zeal, that religion might not suffer, or
sin be in any way covered, especially the guilt of blood, of which all
should be very conscientious, they did endeavor to appease and satisfy
them the best they could; first by informing them of the truth in all
circumstances about the matter; and secondly, in being willing to refer
the case to any indifferent and equal hearing and judgment of the
thing here, and to answer it elsewhere when they should be duly called
thereto. And further, they craved Mr. Winthrop’s, and others of the
revered magistrates there, their advice and direction therein. This did
mollify their minds, and bring things to a good and comfortable issue
in the end.”[45]

In accordance with Governor Winthrop’s advice, a general conference of
prominent men, both ministers and laymen, was held in Boston. After
seeking divine guidance in prayer, the matter was very thoroughly
discussed. Then the opinion of each one was taken, both magistrates
and ministers. With entire unanimity they came to the conclusion that,
“Though they all could have wished that these things had never been,
yet they could not but lay the blame and guilt on Hocking’s own head.
And thus,” writes Governor Bradford, “was this matter ended, and love
and concord renewed.”

In the struggle between the Dutch and the English, for the possession
of the Connecticut River and its lucrative trade, a party of Dutch
ascended the river far above their trading-house, at the present site
of Hartford. Here there was a powerful tribe of Indians. Being, as
usual with the Indians, at war with their neighbors, about one thousand
of them had built a fort, which they had strongly palisadoed. Some
Dutch traders went up to pass the winter with them, and to purchase
their furs. A terrible plague came upon the Indians, and nine hundred
and fifty died in the course of a few weeks. The living could not bury
the dead. Their bodies were left to decay in the open air. The Dutch,
with difficulty, amidst the snows of winter, made their escape from
this horrible pestilence, and succeeded, when almost dead with hunger
and cold, in reaching their friends in Hartford.

The account of the ravages of the small-pox among the Indians, around
the English settlements, is too revolting to be transferred to these
pages. The suffering was awful. Though the English ministered to them
with the greatest humanity, yet not one of them was attacked by the
disease. The judgment of God seemed to have fallen upon the Indians,
and they were everywhere perishing.

The Plymouth colony had a very flourishing trading-house on the
Penobscot River. In the year 1635, a French frigate appeared in the
harbor, and took possession of the post, in the name of the king of
France. The captain, Monsieur d’ Aulney, made an inventory of their
goods, took a bill of sale at his own price, promised to pay when
convenient, put the men on board their shallop, supplied them amply
with provisions, and, with many bows and compliments, sent them home to
Plymouth. Once before this post had been thus captured. The Plymouth
people were greatly disturbed by the loss. The French commander
threatened to come again the next year, with eight ships, and to seize
all the plantations in that section of the country which was claimed by
the king of France.

Plymouth applied to Massachusetts to co-operate in the endeavor to
recapture the post, and to drive out the French. The Governor of
Plymouth and Captain Standish were sent to meet the Massachusetts
commissioners. They urged that both colonies were equally interested
in the dislodgement of the French, and that the expense should be
equally borne. But the Massachusetts commissioners insisted that as the
post belonged to Plymouth alone, that colony ought to defray all the
expenses of the expedition. Thus the negotiation terminated.

Plymouth, thus left to its own resources, hired a vessel, the Great
Hope, of about three hundred tons, well fitted with ordnance. It was
agreed with its commander that he should recapture the post, and
surrender it, with all the trading commodities which were there, to
the agents, who were to accompany him from Plymouth. As his recompense,
he was to receive seven hundred pounds of beaver skins, to be delivered
as soon as he should have accomplished his task. If he failed, he was
to receive nothing.

Thomas Prince was then Governor of Plymouth. He sent Captain Miles
Standish, in their own bark, with about twenty men, to aid, should
it be needful, in the recovery of the post, and to take the command
there, should the post be regained. Captain Standish’s bark led the
way, and piloted the Great Hope into the harbor, on the Penobscot.
He had in his vessel the seven hundred pounds of beaver, with which
to pay for the expedition. But Golding proved a totally incompetent
man, displaying folly almost amounting to insanity. He would take no
advice from Captain Standish. He would not even allow Captain Standish
to summon the post to surrender. Had this been done, the French would
at once have yielded, for they were entirely unprepared to resist the
force sent against them. Neither would he bring his ship near enough
to the post to do any execution, as without any summons and at a great
distance, he opened a random and harmless fire.

Captain Standish earnestly remonstrated, assuring Golding that he could
lay his ship within pistol shot of the house. As the stupid creature
burned his powder and threw away his shot, the French, behind an
earth-work out of all harm’s reach, made themselves merry over the
futile bombardment. At length Golding became convinced of his folly,
and placed his vessel upon the spot which Captain Standish had pointed
out. Then he ascertained, to the excessive chagrin of Captain Standish
and his party, that he had expended all his ammunition. The wretch
then designed to seize upon the bark and the beaver skins. But Captain
Standish, learning of this, spread his sails and returned in safety to

The Governor and his assistants in Massachusetts Bay, hearing of this
utter failure of the expedition, became alarmed in reference to their
own safety. They wrote very earnestly to Plymouth, saying:

“We desire that you would, with all convenient speed, send some man
of trust, furnished with instructions from yourselves, to make such
agreement with us about this business, as may be useful for you and
equal for us.”

Captain Standish, with Mr. Prince, was immediately sent to
Massachusetts with full powers to act in accordance with instructions
given them. The negotiations, however, failed; as the Massachusetts
colonists were still not prepared to pay their share of the expense.
The French remained undisturbed on the Penobscot. They carried on
a vigorous trade with the Indians, supplying them abundantly with
muskets and ammunition.

The terrible mortality, which had swept away so many thousand Indians
from the Connecticut, turned the attention of the Massachusetts
colonists again to that beautiful and fertile region. The Dutch claimed
the country. The Plymouth colony claimed it. And now the Massachusetts
colonists were putting in their claim. Jonathan Brewster, the oldest
son of Elder Brewster, was at the head of the little Plymouth
settlement at Windsor. The following extracts from one of his letters
addressed to the authorities at Plymouth, give a very clear idea of
the state of the question at that time. The letter is dated Matianuck
(Windsor), July 6, 1835.

“The Massachusetts men are coming almost daily, some by water and some
by land, who are not yet determined where to settle, though some have
a great mind to the place we are upon, and which was last bought. Many
of them look for that which this river will not afford, except it be at
this place, to be a great town and have commodious dwellings for many
together. I shall do what I can to withstand them. I hope that they
will hear reason; as that we were here first, and entered with much
difficulty and danger, both in regard of the Dutch and Indians, and
bought the land and have since held here a chargeable possession, and
kept the Dutch from further encroaching, who would else, long ere this,
have possessed all, and kept out all others.

“It was your will that we should use their persons and messengers
kindly; and so we have done, and do daily to your great charge. For the
first company had well nigh starved had it not been for this house; I
being forced to supply twelve men for nine days together. And those who
came last I helped the best we could, helping them both with canoes
and guides. They got me to go with them to the Dutch, to see if I
could procure some of them to have quiet settling near them; but they
did peremptorily withstand them. Also I gave their goods house-room,
according to their earnest request. What trouble and charge I shall be
further at I know not; for they are coming daily, and I expect those
back again from below, whither they are gone to view the country. All
which trouble and charge we undergo for their occasion, may give us
just cause, in the judgment of all wise and understanding men, to hold
and keep that we are settled upon.”[46]

The question was finally settled by treaty, and the Massachusetts
colonists soon planted settlements at Wethersfield, Hartford, and some
other places on the river. There were three dominant nations, if we
may so call them, at this time, in southern New England. The chiefs
of these nations exercised a sort of feudal domination over many petty
tribes. The Wampanoags, under Massasoit, held the present region of
Massachusetts generally. The Narragansets, under Canonicus, occupied
Rhode Island. The Pequots, under Sassacus, extended their dominion
over nearly the whole of Connecticut. These tribes, powerful and
jealous, were almost invariably engaged in hostilities. Roger Williams
estimated the number of Pequots at thirty thousand souls. They could
bring four thousand warriors into the field. The seat of their chief
was at Groton, near New London. Twenty-six smaller tribes were held in
subjection by him. The Pequots were deemed the most fierce and cruel
race of all the tribes who dwelt in New England.

The Narragansets were a nobler race of men. They somewhat surpassed
the Pequots in numbers, and manifested traits of character far more
generous and magnanimous. They could bring five thousand warriors into
the field. The seat of Canonicus, their chief, was not far from the
present town of Newport.

The Wampanoags had suffered terribly from the pestilence which ravaged
New England just before the arrival of the Pilgrims. The number of
their warriors had been reduced from over three thousand to about
five hundred. Early in the year 1637 the Pequots began to manifest
decided hostility against the English. There was a small settlement at
Saybrook, near the mouth of the Connecticut river. As the colonists
were at work in the fields, unsuspicious of danger, a band of Indians
fell upon them and killed several men and women. The Indians retired
with loud boastings and threats. Soon after they came in larger numbers
and attacked a fort. Though they were repelled, their attack was so
bold and spirited as to astonish the English and cause them great alarm.

The Pequots endeavored to make peace with the Narragansets, that
they might enter into an alliance with them against the English. Not
a little ability was displayed in the plan of operations which they
suggested. “We have no occasion to fear,” they said, “the strength of
the English. We need not come to open battle with them. We can set fire
to their houses, shoot their cattle, lie in ambush for them whenever
they go abroad. Thus we can utterly destroy them without any danger
to ourselves. The English will be either starved to death, or will be
compelled to leave the country.”

For a time the Narragansets listened to these representations, being
quite inclined to accept them. The anxiety of the English was very
great. They desired only peace, with the prosperity it would bring. War
and its ruin they greatly deplored.

The Pilgrims did everything which could be done to avoid the Pequot
war; but it was forced upon them. Sassacus was a very shrewd man, and
laid very broad plans for his military operations. He could summon
thousands of warriors who would fall furiously upon all the scattered
settlements, lay them in ashes, and massacre the inhabitants.

In the year 1634, just after a very flourishing trading post had been
established on the Connecticut river at Windsor, two English traders,
Captains Norton and Stone, ascended the river in a boat, laden with
valuables for the Indian trade, which they intended to exchange for
furs. These traders had eight white boatmen in their employ. The
Indians were peaceful, and they had no apprehensions of danger. One
night, as the boat was moored by the side of the stream, a band of
Indians, with hideous yells, rushed from an ambush upon them, put every
man to death and, having plundered the boat of all its contents, sunk
it in the stream.

These traders were from Massachusetts. This powerful colony demanded
of Sassacus that the murderers should be surrendered to them, and that
payment should be made for the plundered goods. The bloody deed had
been performed at midnight in the glooms of the forest. There was no
survivor to tell the story. Sassacus fabricated one, very ingeniously,
to palm off upon the English. No one could deny the villany of Captain
Hunt, who, some years before, had kidnapped several Indians and sold
them into slavery. Sassacus declared that Captains Norton and Stone,
without any provocation, had seized two Indians, bound them hand and
foot in their boat, and were about to carry them off, no one knew where.

The friends of these captives crept cautiously along the shore watching
for an opportunity to rescue them. The white men were all thoroughly
armed with swords and muskets, rendering any attempt to rescue the
captives extremely perilous. The right of self-defense rendered it
necessary, in the conflict which would ensue, to kill. In the darkness
of the night they rushed upon the boat which was drawn up to the shore,
killed the white men and released the captives. He also stated that all
the Indians engaged in the affray, excepting two, had since died of the

This plausible story could not be disproved. The magistrates of
Massachusetts, high-minded and honorable men, wished to treat the
Indians not merely with justice, but with humanity. It could not be
denied that, admitting the facts to be as stated by Sassacus, the
Indians had performed a heroic act--one for which they deserved
praise rather than censure. The Governor of Massachusetts therefore
accepted this explanation, and resumed his friendly alliance with the
treacherous Pequots.

Roger Williams, who had taken up his residence in Rhode Island, had
secured the confidence of the Indians to a wonderful degree. He exposed
himself, apparently, to the greatest perils, without any sense of
danger. He had acquired wonderful facility in speaking the language of
the Narragansets, in the midst of whom he dwelt. There were still so
many indications that the Pequots were plotting hostilities, that the
Governor and Council of Massachusetts wrote to Mr. Williams, urging him
to go to the seat of Canonicus, and dissuade him from entering into any
coalition with the Pequots, should such be in process of formation.
This truly good man immediately left his home and embarked alone, in a
canoe, to skirt the coast of Narraganset Bay, upon his errand of mercy.
It is probable that he made this journey in a birch canoe, paddling his
way over the smooth waters of the sheltered bays. He encountered many
hardships, and many great perils, as occasional storms arose, dashing
the surf upon the shore. After several days of such lonely voyaging,
he reached the royal residence of Canonicus. The barbarian chieftain
was at home, and it so happened that when Mr. Williams arrived at his
wigwam, he found several Pequot warriors there, who had come on an
embassage from Sassacus to engage the Narragansets in the war.

For three days this bold man remained alone among these savages,
endeavoring, in every way, to thwart the endeavors of the Pequot
warriors. These agents of Sassacus were enraged at Mr. Williams’
influence in circumventing their plans. They plotted his massacre,
and every night Mr. Williams had occasion to fear that he would not
behold the light of another morning. But Canonicus, unlettered savage
as he was, had sufficient intelligence to appreciate the fearlessness
and true grandeur of character of Mr. Williams. He dismissed the
discomfited Pequots, refusing to enter into any alliance with them. He
renewed his treaty of friendship with the English, and engaged to send
a large party of his warriors to co-operate with them in repelling the
threatened assault of the Pequots.

The benefits thus conferred upon the English by the efforts of Mr.
Roger Williams were incalculable. Many distant tribes, who were on the
eve of joining Sassacus, alarmed by the defection of the Narragansets,
also withdrew; and thus the Pequots were compelled to enter upon the
war with forces considerably weaker than they had originally intended.
Still they were foes greatly to be dreaded. The English settlements
were now widely scattered, and each was in itself feeble. The Pequots
could marshal four thousand of as fierce warriors as earth has ever
seen. A small bag of pounded corn would furnish each warrior with
food for many days. They could traverse the forest trails with almost
the velocity of the wind. Rushing upon some unprotected hamlet at
midnight, with torch and tomahawk, they could, in one awful hour, leave
behind them but smouldering ashes and gory corpses. Disappearing,
like wolves, in the impenetrable forest, they could again rush upon
any lonely farm-house, leagues away, and thus, with but little danger
to themselves, spread ruin far and wide. No man in the scattered
settlements could fall asleep at night without the fear that the
hideous war-whoop of the Indian would rouse him and his family to a
cruel death before morning.

The Pequots were continually perpetrating new acts of violence, while
the English, with great forbearance, were doing everything in their
power to avert the open breaking out of hostilities. To add to the
embarrassment of the English they received conclusive evidence that
Captains Norton and Stone, with their boats’ crew, were wantonly
murdered by the Indians, and that the statement of extenuating
circumstances, made by Sassacus, was an entire fabrication. The
forbearance of the English only stimulated the insolence of the

In July 1635, John Oldham ventured on a trading expedition to the
Pequot country. He went as an agent of the Massachusetts colony, one
object being to ascertain the disposition of the savages. The Indians
captured his boat, killed Captain Oldham, horribly mutilating his body,
and the rest of the crew, two or three in number, were carried off as
captives. The time for attempts at conciliation was at an end. It was
resolved to prosecute the war with all vigor, and so to punish the
Pequots as to give them a new idea of the power of the English, and to
present a warning to all the other savages against the repetition of
such outrages.

Plymouth colony furnished fifty soldiers, commanded by Captain Miles
Standish. Massachusetts raised two hundred men. The settlements on the
Connecticut furnished ninety men. The Mohegans and Narragansets sent to
the English camp of rendezvous about two hundred warriors, promising
many more. It was decided to strike the Pequots a sudden and heavy
blow. We cannot here enter into the details of the fierce and decisive
war which ensued.

These military bands rendezvoused on the shores of Narraganset bay,
and commenced a rapid march through the forest. The Narragansets were
exceedingly jubilant in the prospect of inflicting vengeance upon a
foe who had often compelled them to bite the dust. As they hurried
along through the narrow trails towards the Pequot territory, volunteer
Narragansets joined them until five hundred feathered warriors were in
their train.

The Indian guides led them to a strong fort, on the banks of the river
Mystic. A large number of Pequot warriors were assembled here, quite
unapprehensive of the attack which was about to fall terribly upon
them. Silently, in the night the English and the Indians surrounded
them, that there might be no escape.

“And so,” writes Governor Bradford, “assaulted them with great courage,
shooting amongst them, and entering the fort with all speed. Those that
first entered found sharp resistance from the enemy, who both shot at
and grappled with them. Others ran into their houses, and brought out
fire and set them on fire, which soon took in their mats, and, standing
close together, with the wind, all was quickly in a flame. Thereby
more were burned to death than were otherwise slain. It burned their
bow-strings, and rendered them unserviceable. Those that escaped the
fire were slain with the sword. Some were hewed to pieces, others were
run through with their rapiers, so that they were quickly dispatched,
and very few escaped. It was conceived that they thus destroyed about
four hundred at this time.

“It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fire, the
streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the scent
thereof. But the victory seemed a sweet sacrifice, and they gave the
praise thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to
give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enemy.”[47]

“The Narraganset Indians all this while stood round about, but aloof
from all danger, and left the whole execution to the English, except it
were the stopping of any that broke away; insulting over their enemies
in this their ruin and misery, when they were writhing in the flames.
After this service was thus happily accomplished, they marched to the
water side, where they met with some of their vessels, by which they
had refreshing with victuals and other necessaries.”

The war was continued with vigor, and the Pequot warriors became nearly
exterminated. Sassacus fled to the Mohawks, in New York. They cut off
his head. Thus the war ended. The Pequots were no longer to be feared.
Driven from their homes, they took refuge, in their dispersion, in
different tribes, and this formidable barbaric nation became extinct.

War is always demoralizing. Many, rioting in its scenes of carnage and
of crime, lose all sense of humanity, and become desperadoes. After
the close of the Pequot war, a young fellow, lusty and desperate, by
the name of Arthur Peach, who had done valiant service in cutting down
the Indians, felt a strong disinclination to return to the monotony of
peaceful life. He became thoroughly dissolute, a wild adventurer, ripe
for any crime. To escape the consequences of some of his misdeeds, he
undertook, with three boon companions, as bad as himself, to escape to
the Dutch colony at the mouth of the Hudson. As they were travelling
through the woods they stopped to rest, and, kindling a fire, sat down
to smoke their pipes. An Indian came along, who had a quantity of
wampum, which had become valuable as currency, recognized by all the
tribes. They invited him to sit down and smoke with them. As they were
thus smoking together, Peach said to his companions that he meant to
kill the Indian, “for the rascal,” said he, “has undoubtedly killed
many white men.” The Indian, who did not understand English, was
unsuspicious of danger. Peach, watching his opportunity, thrust his
sword through his body once or twice, and taking from him his wampum
and some other valuables, he and his companions hurried on their way,
leaving him as they supposed, dead.

Though mortally wounded, the Indian so far revived as to reach some of
his friends, when, having communicated to them the facts of the murder,
he died. The men were all arrested. The proof was so positive that
they made no denial of their guilt. They were all condemned, and three
were executed, one having made his escape. Francis Baylies, commenting
upon this occurrence, writes:

“This execution is an undeniable proof of that stern sense of duty
which was cherished by the Pilgrims. To put three Englishmen to
death for the murder of one Indian, without compulsion, or without
any apprehension of consequences, for it does not appear that any
application was made on the part of the Indians, for the punishment
of the murderers, and they might have been pacified by the death
of one, and probably even without that, denotes a degree of moral
culture unknown in new settlements. It stands in our annals without
a parallel instance. The truth of the fact is avouched by all our
early historians, and it stands an eternal and imperishable monument
of stern, unsparing, inflexible justice. And, in all probability it
was not without its earthly reward, for the Indians, convinced of the
justice of the English, abstained from all attempts to avenge their
wrongs, by their own acts, for many years.”[48]

The Plymouth colonists were still much embarrassed in consequence of
their relations with their partners in England, to whom they were still
considerably indebted. The agent of the company there wrote that he
could not make up his accounts, unless some one from the colony should
come over to England to aid him; and he urged that Mr. Winslow should
be sent. But Mr. Winslow was afraid to go. Neither was he willing that
any of his partners should go. The angry tone of letters from England
led him to apprehend serious danger. “For he was persuaded,” writes
Governor Bradford, “that if any of them went they would be arrested,
and an action of such a sum laid upon them as they should not procure
bail, but must lie in prison; and then they would bring them to what
they list.”

Still it was very important that some one should go. Captain Standish
was applied to. He seems to have had as little fear of an English
prison as of the tomahawks and arrows of the Indians. Without any
hesitancy he was ready to embark in the perilous enterprise. But upon
mature deliberation his more cautious friends decided it not to be
prudent to expose him to such peril. But the spirit of justice, which
inspired them in all their transactions, is again conspicuous. They
offered to submit the matter to any gentlemen and merchants of the
Massachusetts colony, whom the company in England themselves might
choose. Before these commissioners both sides should have a hearing.
“We will be bound,” they added, “to stand by their decision, and make
good their award, though it should cost us all we have in the world.”

The company in England declined this magnanimous offer. In the year
1645 Elder Brewster died, at the advanced age of eighty-four years.
He was in Duxbury the next neighbor and the ever warm friend of Miles
Standish. Among the remarkable men who composed the Plymouth colony,
he was one of the most remarkable. By birth, education and wealth he
occupied a high position in English society. In his earlier days he
was the companion of ministers of state. He was familiar with the
magnificence of courts, having represented his sovereign in foreign
embassage. His ample fortune had accustomed him to the refinements
and elegances of life. He might doubtless have spent his days in
ease, honor and opulence. But, true to his religious convictions, all
these he cast aside to share the lot of the humble and persecuted
Puritans. He deemed conformity to the mode of worship adopted by the
Parliament as sinful. And “he chose rather to suffer affliction with
the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”
In the records of the first church in Plymouth we find a very noble
tribute to his memory, probably written by Secretary Morton. Speaking
of his embassage, in his early manhood, to the Low Countries, with Mr.
Davison, Mr. Morton writes,

“He received possession of the cautionary towns; and, in token thereof,
the keys of Flushing being delivered to him in her majesty’s name, he
kept them for some time, and committed them to his servant, who kept
them under his pillow on which he slept, the first night, and, on his
return the States honored him with a gold chain, which his master
committed to him, and commanded him to wear it when they arrived in
England, as they rode through the country until they came to the court.

“Afterwards he went and lived in the country, in good esteem among his
friends and the good gentlemen of those parts, especially the godly and
religious. He did much good in the country where he lived, in promoting
and furthering religion, not only by his practice and example, and
encouraging others, but by procuring good preachers for the places
thereabouts, and drawing on others to assist and help forward in such
a work, he himself commonly deepest in the charge and often above his
abilities. In this state he continued many years, doing the best good
he could, and walking according to the light he saw, until the Lord
revealed further unto him.

“And, in the end, by the tyranny of the bishops against godly preachers
and people, in silencing the one, and persecuting the other, he, with
many more of those times, began to look further into particulars, and
to see into the unlawfulness of their callings, and the burden of many
anti-Christian corruptions, which both he and they endeavored to cast
off, as they also did.

“After they were joined into communion he was a special stay and help
to them. They ordinarily met at his house on the Lord’s day, which was
within the manor of a bishop. With great love he entertained them when
they came, making provision for them to his great charge, and continued
so to do while they should remain in England. And when they were to
remove out of the country, he was the first in all adventures. He was
the chief of those who were taken at Boston, in Lincolnshire, and
suffered the greatest loss, and one of the seven that were kept longest
in prison, and after bound over to the assizes.

“After he came to Holland he suffered much hardship, after he had
spent the most of his means, having a great charge and many children.
And in regard to his former breeding and course, not so fit for many
employments as others were, especially such as were toilsome and
laborious. Yea, he ever bore his condition with much cheerfulness
and content. Towards the latter part of those twelve years, spent in
Holland, his outward condition was mended, and he lived well and
plentiful; for he fell into a way, by reason he had the Latin tongue,
to teach many students, who had a desire to learn the English tongue.
By his method they quickly attained it, with great facility, for he
drew rules to learn it by after the Latin manner. And many gentlemen,
both Danes and Germans, resorted to him, as they had time, from their
other studies, some of them being great men’s sons.

“But now, removing into this country, all these things were laid aside
again, and a new course of living must be framed unto; in which he was
in no way unwilling to take his part, and to bear his burden with the
rest, living many times without bread or corn, many months together;
having many times nothing but fish, and often wanting that also; and
drunk nothing but water for many years together, until five or six
years of his death. And yet he lived, by the blessing of God, in health
until very old age.”

Elder Brewster was an accomplished gentleman, a genial friend, an
eloquent preacher, and a fervent Christian. History has transmitted to
us the record of but few characters so well balanced in all energetic,
harmonious, and lovely traits. He died as he had lived, tranquilly,
peacefully, in the enjoyment of all his faculties. His sickness was
short, confining him to his bed but one day. He could converse with
his friends until within a few hours of his last breath. About ten
o’clock in the evening of April 18th, 1644, he fell asleep.

 “Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep!
  From which none ever wake to weep.”


_Removal to Duxbury._

  Friendship Between Captain Standish and Mr. Brewster.--Character
      of Mr. Brewster.--His Death and Burial.--Mode of Worship.--
      Captain’s Hill.--Difficulty with the Narragansets.--Firmness
      and Conciliation.--Terms of Peace.--Plans for Removal from
      Plymouth.--Captain Standish’s Home in Duxbury.--Present Aspect
      of the Region.

It is greatly to the credit of Captain Miles Standish, the puritan
soldier, that his life-long friend was William Brewster, the puritan
divine. Their farms in Duxbury were side by side. The scene upon which
this noble Christian man looked, in the evening of his eventful life,
must have been one full of peaceful beauty, as he stood, staff in hand,
upon the threshold of his lowly, yet comfortable cottage. His peaceful
home was situated about three miles across the bay from the village of
Plymouth. By land it was a roundabout route of nearly eight miles. His
farm was on a picturesque peninsula shooting out southerly into the
placid waters of Plymouth Bay. In his life of fourscore years and four,
he had witnessed the long reigns of three of the most remarkable of the
English sovereigns.

The days of his early manhood were passed through scenes of
persecution and suffering, whose vicissitudes were painful and
agitating in the extreme. His mental energies had been strengthened
by the discipline of adversity and severe afflictions. As an exile,
he had encountered poverty and had been exposed to the most severe
deprivations and toils. He had landed, with a feeble band, in this
New World when it was but a howling wilderness, and where the utmost
courage and prudence were requisite, to save the little colony from
utter extinction by a savage foe.

He had lived to see the colony securely established, to see the Indians
to a very great degree conciliated, and not a few of them brought
under the influence of Christian example and instruction. From one
little settlement, of seven log huts, he had seen others springing
up all around, till eight flourishing towns were established, with
eight churches, under eight pastors. He had seen the colony reduced
to but fifty souls, men, women and children. And, ere he died, the
census reported a population of eight thousand, with a well-defined
government, a free constitution and established laws. Infant colonies
were rising in various points to a vigorous manhood, and were uniting
in a confederacy, already sufficiently powerful to repel all native
foes, and which gave promise of being able, ere long, to maintain
independence against the machinations of all foreign enemies.

A system of common schools was established, which even then was the
glory of New England. Harvard University, modelled after the renowned
university of Cambridge in England, was already beginning to train
young men for the highest offices in the church and the state. Thus
freedom, education and religion were walking hand in hand. In the
retrospect of his path through life, this thoughtful, devout and
hopeful man could contemplate the stern conflicts, the cruel errors,
and the heroic deeds of one of the most important eras in the world’s
history. Though he had sown in tears, he could hopefully look forward
to the time when his children, and his children’s children should reap
in joy. In speaking of the death of this eminent man, Governor Bradford
writes, under date of the year 1643:[49]

“I am to begin this year with that which was a matter of great
sadness and mourning unto them all. About the 18th of April died
their reverend elder, and my dear and loving friend, Mr. William
Brewster, a man who had done and suffered much for the Lord Jesus and
the gospel’s sake, and had borne his part in weal and woe with this
poor persecuted church above thirty-six years in England, Holland,
and in this wilderness, and done the Lord and them faithful service
in his place and calling. And notwithstanding the many troubles and
sorrows he passed through, the Lord upheld him to a great age. He was
near fourscore years of age, if not all out, when he died.[50] He had
this blessing added by the Lord to all the rest, to die in his bed, in
peace among the midst of his friends, who mourned and wept over him,
and ministered what help and comfort they could unto him, and he again
recomforted them while he could.

“His sickness was not long, and till the last day thereof, he did not
wholly keep his bed. His speech continued till somewhat more than half
a day, and then failed him. About nine or ten o’clock that evening he
died, without any pangs at all. A few hours before his death he drew
his breath short, and some few minutes before his last he drew his
breath long, as a man falling into a sound sleep, without any pangs or
gaspings, and so sweetly departed this life unto a better. I would now
demand of any, what was he the worse for any former sufferings? What do
I say--worse? Nay, sure he was the better, and they now added to his
honor. ‘It is a manifest token,’ saith the apostle, ‘of the righteous
judgment of God, that ye may be accounted worthy of the kingdom of
God, for which ye also suffer; seeing it is a righteous thing with
God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you
who are troubled, rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed
from heaven with his mighty angels.’ What though he wanted the riches
and pleasures of the world in this life, and pompous monuments at his
funeral, yet the just shall be blessed, when the name of the wicked
shall rot, with their marble monuments.”

A very pleasing account is given by Prince, of the mode in which public
worship was conducted by these Christians, who were anxious in all
things to be conformed to the habits of the disciples in apostolic
days. The customs they observed have been transmitted to the present
times in our meetings for conference and prayer. On Thursday, the 25th
of October, 1632, Governor Winthrop, with Mr. Wilson, who was pastor
of the church in Boston, with several other Christian friends, made a
visit to Plymouth. They were received with great hospitality. Governor
Bradford, Rev. Mr. Brewster, the ruling elder, and several others of
the prominent men of Plymouth, came some distance out from the village
to meet their friends, who probably travelled on foot. They were
conducted to the house of Governor Bradford, where most of them were
entertained during their stay. They were, however, every day invited
to dinner parties at the houses of the more opulent of the villagers.

On Sunday the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper was administered, in
the morning. The service occupied the whole time. In the afternoon
devotions, the service was opened by Mr. Roger Williams, who propounded
a question of theology, or of conscience, upon which he made sundry
remarks. Rev. Mr. Smith, pastor of the Boston church, then spoke
briefly upon the subject. Mr. Williams again spoke, quoting freely
from the Bible in explanation of the question which he had proposed.
Then Governor Bradford, who had studied Hebrew, and was familiar with
all scriptural antiquities, expressed his views upon the subject. He
was followed by Elder Brewster. His reputation, as a man of profound
learning, caused all to listen attentively when he spake. Then, by
special invitation from the Elder, Governor Winthrop spoke upon the
question, followed by Mr. Wilson, pastor of the church in Boston.
Deacon Fuller, who was also the physician of the colony at Plymouth,
then called for the contribution for the support of public worship and
of the poor. The Governor, and all the rest of the congregation rose
from their seats and went to the deacon’s seat to deposit their gifts.
The exercises were closed with the benediction.

This peculiarity of having various members of the church speak in
public worship, one after another, they brought with them from Holland,
such having been the practice adopted by Rev. Mr. Robinson, founded
on the primitive practice of the church at Corinth, as recorded by
St. Paul, in chapter xiii. of the Acts, 14th and 15th verses. But, as
the community advanced in intelligence, it was found that study was
essential to the teacher who, Sabbath after Sabbath, would interest
a congregation. It was also remembered that such a practice was
peculiarly adapted to the age of inspiration which had passed away.
Thus the practice was gradually laid aside for the mode of worship now
adopted by all the churches descended from the Puritans. The highly
educated preacher, in the stated services of the sanctuary, brings
from his treasury things new and old for the benefit of the church and
congregation. But in frequent meetings for conference and prayer, all
the brethren of the church have an opportunity of expressing their
views upon all questions of faith and practice.

There was probably no more sincere mourner, at the grave of Elder
Brewster, than his life-long companion and friend, Captain Miles
Standish. As we have mentioned, their farms in Duxbury were side by
side. They had gathered around them several men of congenial spirit,
among whom we find the name of John Alden. From whatever direction
one approaches the homes of these illustrious men, he sees looming up
before him the remarkable eminence known as “Captain’s Hill.” It is an
oval-shaped mound, rising to the height of about one hundred and eighty
feet. This hill was on the farm of Captain Standish. From its summit,
scenery of landscape and water was presented, in a calm summer’s day,
such as can scarcely be surpassed in beauty in any country.

In a clear atmosphere one can discern, in the far distance of the
eastern horizon, over the bay, the outline of the sand-hills of Cape
Cod, with its sickle bend forming in the extreme north the harbor
where the Mayflower first cast anchor; and where for five long weeks
their shattered bark rested while the Pilgrims were in vain seeking
for a home. Almost at one’s feet is to be seen the whole expanse of
Plymouth Bay, with the entrance through which their storm-shattered
shallop passed through the foaming breakers on either side. There was
then no light-house on Gurnet’s Point to guide their endangered keel.
Just before you is Clark’s Isle, under whose lee, in the midnight
tempest, the Pilgrims found shelter, when every moment in danger of
being submerged by the waves; and where they passed the ever-memorable

From the summit of the hill, all the land to the south belonged to
Captain Standish. On the east, spreading out to the water’s edge,
including what is called the Nook, were the acres allotted to Elder
Brewster. Near the site of the humble house which he reared and
occupied, are still to be seen the gray and decaying remains of a
farm-house, and its outbuildings, erected by some one of his immediate
successors. It was from this spot that the remains of the Elder were
conveyed, in long procession winding around the western shore of the
bay, to their final resting-place on Burial Hill.

It was in the midst of these peaceful scenes that Captain Miles
Standish passed the evening of his days, mainly engaged in agricultural
pursuits. But whenever serious trouble came, his energies were
immediately called into requisition.

When the English commenced their settlements on Connecticut River,
Uncas, sachem of the Mohegan Indians, acknowledged a sort of feudal
submission to Sassacus, the powerful chief of the Pequot tribe. This
chieftain had, as we have mentioned, twenty-six minor sachems, who
paid him feudal homage. Uncas was a very ambitious, energetic man, and
he was gradually bringing minor tribes under his sway. His territory
was situated east of the Connecticut River and north of New London,
Stonington and Norwich. Uncas, though a friend of the white men,
was bitterly hostile to the introduction of Christianity among the
Indians. Some occasion of war arose between the Narragansets and the
Mohegans, and a very large force of the former fell upon Uncas, and
slew a large number of his men, while they wounded more. This was in
the year 1645, two years after the death of Elder Brewster. Many of the
Narragansets had obtained muskets. Being superior in numbers to the
Mohegans, and more powerfully armed, they gained an easy victory.

The English were not willing to see their friend and ally thus
destroyed. They were bound by treaty to defend him, and sent to the
Narragansets a remonstrance. The Narragansets, having engaged the
co-operation of the Mohawks, and flushed with victory, returned an
insulting and defiant answer. The Connecticut colonists immediately
despatched forty well-armed men, for the protection of their ally,
while commissioners from the several English colonies met, at Boston,
to decide upon what further measures to adopt. Three messengers were
sent to the Narragansets and to the Mohegans, calling upon both
parties to appoint commissioners to confer with the English upon the
points in dispute, and thus to settle the question by diplomacy and
not by butchery. If the Narragansets refused to accede this proposal,
which they were bound, by previous treaty, to respect, they were
to be informed that the English had already sent forty armed men to
Uncas, and a definite answer was demanded to the question whether they
intended to abide by the treaty of peace, into which they had entered
with the English, or whether they intended to make war upon them also.

To this perfectly just and friendly message, the Narragansets returned
again a contemptuous and threatening reply. At the same time Roger
Williams, who dwelt in the near vicinity, almost in the midst of the
Narragansets, and who was familiar with all their operations, wrote to
the Governors of Plymouth and of Massachusetts, stating that the war
would soon break out far and wide, with great violence, and the whole
country would be in flames. This was alarming tidings to the English.
By the arts of peace alone could they be enriched, and for peace and
friendship their hearts yearned.

The Narragansets were not far from Plymouth. The fiend-like warfare
of the savages, with their hideous yells, tomahawks and firebrands,
would first fall upon the scattered farm-houses of that colony. An
immediate convention was called of the magistrates, elders and chief
military commanders of the Massachusetts and Plymouth colonies. They
came unanimously to the following decisions, That they were bound,
by treaty, to aid and defend Uncas; that this aid was not intended
merely to defend him in his fort, or when attacked in his dwelling,
but also to enable him to preserve his liberty and his estates; that
this aid must be immediately furnished or Uncas would be overwhelmed
and ruined by his enemies; that the war against the Narragansets being
so manifestly just, the reasons for it ought to be proclaimed to the
world; that a day of humiliation and prayer should be appointed to
implore the Divine guidance and blessing; that three hundred men should
be immediately sent to the aid of Uncas, of which Massachusetts should
furnish one hundred and ninety, Plymouth forty, Connecticut forty, and
New Haven thirty; that, considering the immediate danger of Uncas,
forty men should be instantly sent to his succor from Massachusetts.

In accordance with the promptness which has ever characterized the
Massachusetts colony, scarcely an hour elapsed, after the tidings
reached Boston, ere the men were on the march. Governor Bradford,
speaking of the insolent tone adopted by the Narragansets, writes,

“They received the English commissioners with scorn and contempt, and
told them that they would have no peace with Uncas without his head.
They also gave them this further answer,--that it mattered not who
began the war, they were resolved to follow it up, and that the English
should withdraw their garrison from Uncas, or they would bring down
the Mohawks upon them. And withal they gave them this threatening
answer, that they would lay the English cattle on heaps as high as
their houses, and that no Englishman should step out of his door but
that he should be shot.”

The English commissioners needed guides to lead them through the
wilderness of the Narraganset country, to communicate the reply of the
Narraganset chiefs to Uncas. They refused to furnish them with any
guide. At last, in scorn they brought forward a poor, old, decrepit
Pequot woman saying, with derisive laughter, that they might take her
if they pleased. In addition to all these indignities the commissioners
were seriously menaced with personal violence. As their interpreter was
communicating his message to the sachems, three burly savages came and
stood behind him, brandishing their tomahawks in the most insulting
and threatening manner. The friendly Indians, who had accompanied the
English, were so alarmed by this conduct of the Narragansets that they
fled in the utmost haste, leaving the commissioners to go home alone.

“Thus,” writes Governor Bradford, “while the commissioners in care of
the public peace sought to quench the fire kindled among the Indians,
these children of strife breathe out threatenings, provocation and war
against the English themselves. So that unless they should dishonor and
provoke God by violating a just engagement, and expose the colonies
to contempt and danger from the barbarians, they cannot but exercise
force, when no other means will prevail to reduce the Narragansets and
their confederates to a more just and sober temper.”

The Plymouth colonists were as prompt in action as those of
Massachusetts. Captain Miles Standish was of course placed at the head
of the command. With rapid steps his little army of forty men traversed
the forest to the appointed rendezvous at Seekonk, now Rehoboth. Having
a much shorter journey to take, he was encamped upon the spot before
the Massachusetts men reached it. The Connecticut and New Haven forces
also soon arrived. Quite a large number of friendly Indian warriors
also joined them. They were armed with muskets, and placed under the
command of Captain Standish.

All these measures were adopted with the greatest energy and
promptness. The sachem of the Narragansets had, a short time before,
sent a present to the Governor of Massachusetts. It was intended
either to blind him as to their hostile designs, or to bribe him not
to interpose in behalf of the Mohegans. But the Governor was not thus
to be duped. He frankly informed the messenger that he was not fully
satisfied respecting the friendly intentions of the sachem of the
Narragansets,--that he could not, therefore, immediately accept the
present. He would not however refuse it, but would lay it aside to wait
the developments of the future.

The military bands being now all assembled at Rehoboth and ready
to march into the territory of the Narragansets, the Governor of
Massachusetts, before commencing hostilities, sent two commissioners,
with an interpreter, to return the present to the Narraganset sachem,
and to inform him that he had already sent forty men for the protection
of Uncas, and that another armed force was on the march to defend him.
They were also directed to inform the Narraganset sachem that the
English troops had express orders to stand only upon his and their own
defence; that they should make no attempt to invade the Narraganset
country; and that if the sachem would make reparation for the wrongs
which he had already inflicted upon the Mohegans, and would give
security for his peaceful conduct in future, he would find that the
English were as desirous of peace, and as reluctant to shed Narraganset
blood, as they ever had been. In conclusion, this messenger, seeking
only peace, said:

“If, therefore, Pessecus and Innemo, with the other sachems, will,
without further delay, come to Boston, they shall have free liberty
to come and return without molestation, or any just grievance from
the English. But deputies will not now serve; nor may the preparations
in hand be now stayed, or the directions given recalled, till the
forementioned sagamores come, and some further order be taken. But if
the Narragansets will have nothing but war, the English are providing
for it, and will proceed accordingly.”

These wise measures accomplished the desired results. The Narraganset
sachems had sufficient intelligence to perceive that they were arraying
against themselves forces which they were but poorly able to withstand.
Three of their most prominent chiefs, with a large array of warriors,
after a few days visited Boston, and entered into a treaty of peace.

The Indians agreed to pay to Massachusetts two thousand fathoms of good
white wampum, in payments extending through two years; to restore to
Uncas all the captives, men, women and children they had taken, and
all the canoes, and to pay in full for the corn they had destroyed
or carried away. They also agreed to meet the commissioners from the
several colonies at New Haven, and submit to their arbitration those
grievances which would otherwise result in war. There were one or two
other articles in the treaty of a similar nature. Four children of the
sachems were, within fourteen days, to be surrendered as hostages
to the English, to be tenderly cared for by them, until the terms of
the treaty should be fulfilled. Thus happily this menace of war was

A little while before the events which we have above recorded, a
serious design was entertained of abandoning the location at Plymouth
and removing to some place where they would find richer soil. Not
only was the soil at Plymouth so barren that it would scarcely repay
cultivation, but the harbor was incommodious and shallow. Several
general meetings were held, and the subject was very thoroughly
discussed. Many had already moved to other locations, and the church
had thus become seriously weakened.

“Some,” writes Governor Bradford, “were still for staying together in
this place, alleging that men and women might here live, if they would
be content with their condition. And it was not for want of necessities
so much they removed, as for the enriching of themselves. Others were
resolute upon removal, and so signified that here they would not stay;
that if the church did not remove, they must; insomuch that many were
swayed, rather than that there should be a dissolution of the church,
to condescend to a removal, if a fit place could be found, that
might more conveniently and comfortably receive the whole, with such
accession of others as might come to them, for their better strength
and subsistence, and some such like cautions and limitations.”

A committee of the church was chosen, by advice of Governor Bradford,
to select a place to move to. They repaired to Nauset, on Cape Cod,
where is now the town of Eastham. The report they brought back was
so much in favor of the place that the large majority of the church
consented to remove there. But it was soon found that they had by
no means improved their condition by the removal. The result is
graphically described by Governor Bradford:

“Now they began to see their error, that they had given away already
the best and most commodious places to others, and now wanted them
themselves. For this place was about fifty miles from here, and at an
outside of the country, remote from all society. Also it would prove
so strait as it would not be competent to receive the whole body, much
less be capable of any addition or increase. Thus, in a short time,
they would be worse there than they are now here. The which, with
sundry other like considerations and inconveniences, made them change
their resolutions. But such as were before resolved upon removal took
advantage of this agreement, and went on, notwithstanding; neither
could the rest hinder them, they having made some beginning. Thus was
this poor church left, like an ancient mother, grown old and forsaken
of her children, though not in their affections, yet in regard to their
bodily presence and personal helpfulness. Her ancient members being
most of them worn away by death; and these of later times being like
children translated into other families, and she, like a widow, left
only to trust in God. Thus she that had made many rich became herself

It required sleepless vigilance and the wisest measures to keep
peace with the Indians. There were now, in the several colonies,
many individual white men who were totally unprincipled. No power
of law could restrain them from insulting and abusing the Indians.
The ignorant savages had very inadequate conceptions of justice, and
avenged themselves upon any white men who fell into their hands. One
of these miscreant white men, who was running away from Massachusetts,
was killed by an Indian, in the woods between Fairfield and Stamford.
No one knows whether the Indian had any provocation to commit the
deed. The murderer was demanded by the Massachusetts authorities. The
sachem of the tribe promised to deliver him to the English, bound. Ten
Englishmen were sent to receive the prisoner. The Indians, who were in
charge of the captive, as soon as they came in sight of the English
party, cut his bands and he fled like a deer into the woods. Upon this
the English seized eight of the Indians, including two sachems, and
held them in close captivity for two days, until they received, from
the chiefs, satisfactory promises that the murderer should be delivered
to them.

About a week after this, a wandering Indian came to a lonely hut in
Stamford, and finding a woman alone, killed her, as he supposed, and
robbed the house. All the Indians in that region seemed angry, sullen,
and often insulting. It was not deemed safe for the English to travel,
unless well armed and in some strength. A vigilant watch had to be kept
night and day. This was a very uncomfortable state of things, but no
remedy could be devised for it. So many had moved from Plymouth that
the little village was quite in a state of decay. Duxbury, where Miles
Standish had taken his farm, was, as we have mentioned, at a distance
of eight miles from Plymouth. Francis Baylies, alluding to the place in
the year 1830, writes:

“The extensive pine forest, the certain evidence of sandy and barren
soil, which even now almost skirts the ancient town of Plymouth on
the south and the west, prevented any extension of population in that
direction, and on the east the ocean was its boundary. So unconquerable
is the barrenness of this region, that even now the wild deer makes his
lair in the same place where deer were hunted by our forefathers two
centuries ago, and a few wretched Indians inhabit the primeval woods in
which their ancestors disdained to dwell.”[51]

Fear of the Indians, with whom hostilities were liable at any time to
break out, prevented the colonists from selecting farms far inland. The
strong settlements on Massachusetts Bay induced the Plymouth people to
extend their settlements along the ocean shore in that direction. The
second church of the Plymouth colony was established at Duxbury.

The house which Captain Standish occupied here during the long evening
of his eventful life, was situated on the southeastern part of the
peninsula, where the remains of the cellar, which he probably dug, are
still to be seen. The house in Duxbury, now called the Standish House,
was built by his son, Alexander, partly it is supposed from timbers
taken from the old house. This fact seems to be substantiated from the
appearance of the beams, which bear the traces of a peculiar saw, which
was used before the introduction of saw-mills. The hearthstone also, as
well as the doors and latchings, were doubtless used in the paternal
home. It was by the side of that fireplace that the heroic captain sat
and mused, while the storms of a New England winter shook his dwelling.
The timbers are of oak, and very sound and strong.

Upon the south side of Captain’s Hill there is a large rock, called
the Captain’s Chair. Near this spot the original barn was erected. The
farm comprised about one hundred and fifty acres, and contained some
of the most fertile land to be found in the county of Plymouth. Other
parts of the town are sandy and unproductive. Clark’s Island, where
the explorers of Plymouth Bay passed their first Sabbath, is said to
possess, in some parts, a rich soil, which can scarcely be surpassed
in any country. “While the northern and western sides offer the most
desirable qualities for pasturage and grain, its southern and eastern
declivities present a perfect garden, abounding with trees, through
whose foliage, even during the summer’s hottest months, stir the
breezes from the sea.”

The historian of Duxbury describes the scene now witnessed from the
summit of Captain’s Hill, and endeavors to give expression to the
emotions which the view must awaken in every reflective mind. He writes:

“Select, should you visit it, the closing hours of a summer’s day, when
the burning heat of the declining sun is dispelled by the cooler shades
of approaching evening, and ascend to its height. Now as the retiring
rays of day form on the heavens above a gorgeous canopy of variegated
hues, so on nature’s face below all brightens into richness, and the
verdure of her covering softens into mildness; the shining villages
around, and the village spires towering against a background of
unfading green, add gladness to the scene. The glassy surface of the
bay within, with its gentle ripplings on the shore beneath, the music
of the dashing waves on the beach without, give quiet to the mind and
peace within.

“Before you, in the distance at the east, appear the white sand-hills
of Cape Cod, shining beyond the blue expanse, and seeming to encircle
by its protecting barrier a spot dear to the heart of every descendant
of that Pilgrim band. Still nearer, at your feet and before you, are
the pleasant bays of Plymouth, Kingston, and Duxbury, enlivened by
passing boats, and sheltered by the beach from a raging ocean, crowned
at its southern extremity by a light-house, and with the extending arm
of Saquish enclosing the Island of the Pilgrims; turning your eyes to
the south, they fall in succession on the promontory of Manomet; on
the ancient town of Plymouth, rising beneath, and--as if under the
protection of the mound beyond, the resting-place of the Pilgrim’s
dead--on the villages of Rocky Nook and of Kingston.

“Extending your eye over the extent of forest to the northwest, you
see the Blue Hills of Milton, ascending far above the surrounding
country; while nearer, at the north, are the villages of Duxbury and
Marshfield, scattered over the fields, whose white cottages, shining in
the sun, offer a pleasing contrast to the scene. Below you and around
you once arose the humble abode of the Pilgrims. Who can gaze upon the
spot which marks the site of the dwelling of Standish, without feelings
of emotion? who can but give thanks that that spirit--

 ‘A spirit fit to start into an empire
  And look the world to law’--

had been sent amongst them, to be their counsel in peace and their
protection in danger? Who can but admire its ready adaptation to a
sphere of action so totally different from the school of his youth?
Here also arose the dwellings of Brewster, who having followed in his
youth the retinue of kings and princes, preferred a solitary retreat in
the western wilds, and there to worship his God in peace. Here, too,
was the abode of Collier, who, under every circumstance of danger,
strove with unceasing toil in the discharge of every duty necessary
to the welfare and prosperity of the colony. Here, too, can be seen
the spot whereon the habitation of Alden was, whose prudent counsels
and whose rigid justice attained for him a rank in the estimation of
the colony, alike an honor to himself, and a subject of pride to his
descendants. Turn your vision as you may, and you will feel that you
are gazing on a scene of more than ordinary interest, full of the most
grateful recollections, and of a nature the most agreeable and pleasing.

 “‘Scenes must be beautiful, which daily viewed
   Please daily, and whose novelty survives
   Long knowledge and the scrutiny of years,--
   Praise justly due to those that I describe.’

“Rose, the first wife of Myles Standish, died at Plymouth, January
29, 1621, about a month after the landing. She was among the first to
succumb to the privations of that terrible first winter. He married a
second wife (Barbara), who survived him.

“To his house on Captain’s Hill, Standish removed after his second
marriage, and here he drew around him a devoted class of friends,
among whom were the elder Brewster, George Partridge, John Alden, Mr.
Howland, Francis Eaton, Peter Brown, George Soule, Nicholas Byrom,
Moses Simmons, and other settlers of Duxbury.

“The Indians also loved as well as feared him, and the faithful
Hobbomak ever kept near to minister to his wants, and was the faithful
guide in his travels. This devoted Indian died in 1642, having
faithfully served his master twenty years, and is supposed to have been
buried on the south side of Captain’s Hill, near the great rock called
‘The Captain’s chair.’ Tradition fixes his wigwam between two shell
mounds on the shore near the Standish place, till taken home to the
house of Standish, where he became an inmate till his death.”


_The Standish Monument._

  The Will of Captain Standish.--His Second Wife.--Captain’s Hill.--
      The Monument.--Letters from President Grant and General
      Hooker.--Oration by General Horace Binney Sargent.--Sketch
      of his Life.--Other Speakers.--Laying the Corner Stone.--
      Description of the Shaft.

None of the particulars of the last hours of Captain Standish have
been transmitted to our day. So far as is known he enjoyed good health
until his last sickness. His will was dated March 1st, 1655. In it he
expressed the wish that, should he die at Duxbury, his body should
be buried by the side of his two dear daughters, Lora Standish, and
Mary Standish, his daughter-in law. One-third part of his estate he
bequeathed to his dear and loving wife, Barbara Standish. The following
extract from his will indicates the devout character of the man:

“I do, by this my will, make and appoint my loving friends, Mr. Timothy
Hatherly and Captain James Cudworth, supervisors of this my last will;
and that they will be pleased to do the office of Christian love, to be
helpful to my poor wife and children, by their Christian counsel and
advice; and if any difference should arise, which I hope will not, my
will is that my said supervisors shall determine the same, and that
they see that my poor wife shall have as comfortable maintainance as
my poor state will bear, the whole time of her life, which if you my
loving friends please to do, though neither they nor I shall be able to
recompense, I do not doubt that the Lord will.”

There is a tradition that Captain Standish’s second wife, Barbara, was
a sister of his first wife, Rose. When the Mayflower sailed, she was
left an orphan in England. She afterwards reached the colony a full
grown woman, and became the wife of the Captain.

[Illustration: _STANDISH MONUMENT._]

Captain Standish died the 3d of October, 1656. But his character and
achievements were such that for two hundred years since his death,
his name has been one of the most prominent in our retrospects of the
Pilgrim days. His descendants are very numerous. For some time it has
been, by these his descendants, in contemplation to rear a monument
to his memory. On the 17th of August, 1871, there was a very large
gathering of these descendants at Duxbury, to consecrate the spot on
Captain’s Hill, where the monument was to be reared. Many others, of
the most distinguished men of our land, were also present, who wished
to unite in this tribute to the memory of one of the most illustrious
names in American annals. President U. S. Grant wrote, regretting his
inability to be present:

“I am heartily with your association in sympathy, with any movement to
honor one who was as prominent in the early history of our country as
Miles Standish; but my engagements are such that I regret I am unable
to promise to be present in August.”

In the reply from General Hooker to an invitation to attend the
celebration, he writes:

“I regret to state that my engagements for the month of August are
such as to render it impossible for me to join you on that memorable
occasion. It is unnecessary for me to say that I deeply sympathize
with the object of your meeting. I have been an admirer of the
character of Myles Standish from my boyhood up, and would like to be
identified with any body of gentlemen engaged in commemorating his
great virtues. To me, his civil and military character towers far above
his contemporaries, and they, if I mistake not (when history shall be
truthfully written), will be made to appear to be the most remarkable
body of men that ever lived. Viewed from our present standpoint, in my
opinion, they are now entitled to that judgment. It will be a graceful
act on the part of our friends, to erect a monument to his memory; but
it must not be expected to add to his fame or immortality. Industry,
valor, and integrity were regarded as the cardinal virtues of our
forefathers, and I hope they will never be held in less estimation by
their descendants. One of our gifted poets has happily named ‘Plymouth
Rock’ as the corner-stone of the nation. The superstructure promises to
be worthy of the foundation. With great respect, I have the honor to be
your friend and servant,

                “J. HOOKER, _Major-General_.”

Replies of a similar character were returned by Generals Sherman,
Sheridan and Burnside, and by W. C. Bryant. General Horace Binney
Sargent delivered the oration on this occasion. It was very eloquent in
its truthful delineation of the character and career of the illustrious
Puritan Captain. Every reader will peruse with interest the following
graphic sketch from its pages:

“About the time that all Christendom was in mourning for the murdered
Prince of Orange, and deploring in his death the overthrow of the
bulwark of the Protestant faith, a little fair-haired child was playing
among the hedge-rows of England, who was destined to learn the art of
war in the armies of that king’s more warlike son, Prince Maurice, then
a boy of seventeen, and to be a tower of defence to the unsoldierly
Pilgrim colony of Protestant America.

“That child--whose bones, after nearly fourscore years of toil
and war, were laid somewhere on this hill-side, perhaps under our
unconscious feet--was Myles Standish, the great Puritan Captain! He
was born about the year 1580, of English ancestry, dating back to rank
and opulence as far as the thirteenth century. Of his childhood, little
is known. To defeat the title of his line to lands in England, the
rent-roll of which is half a million per annum, the hand of fraud is
supposed to have defaced the page that contained the parish record of
his birth.

“Unjustly deprived of these vast estates, as he avers in his will,
in which he bequeaths his title to his eldest son, it seems probable
that he went to Holland near the time of his majority. Queen Elizabeth
signed his commission as lieutenant in the English forces, serving in
the Netherlands against the cruel armies of the Inquisition. As she
died in 1603, about two years after his majority, it is not improbable
that we are indebted to that first disappointment, which may have
driven him, in his early manhood and some despair, into the army.

“From 1600 to 1609, the year of the great truce between Prince Maurice
and the King of Spain, the contest was peculiarly obstinate and bloody.
In this fierce school the Puritan captain learned the temper and art of

“From 1609 to 1620, a period of truce but not of civil tranquility,
the Low Countries were inflamed by those theological disputes of the
Calvinists and Arminians which brought the excellent Barneveldt
to the scaffold, and drove the great Grotius--a fugitive from
prison--into exile. In this school, perhaps, Myles Standish learned
some uncompromising religious opinions, which brought him into strange
sympathy and connection with the Pilgrim church in Leyden. Both periods
seemed to leave their impress on his character. The inventory, recorded
with his will, mentions the Commentaries of Cæsar, Bariffe’s Artillery,
three old Bibles, and three muskets, with the harness of the time,
complete. His Bibles were old. A well-worn Bible for every musket; and,
thank God, a musket, not an old one, to defend each Bible!

“The schedule of his books, some forty in number, records nearly twenty
which are devotional or religious. With the memory of one act of
singularly resolute daring, when, in obedience to the colonial orders
to crush a great Indian conspiracy, he took a squad of eight picked
men into the forests, and deemed it prudent to kill the most turbulent
warrior with his own hands, we may imagine how the Pilgrim soldier,
friend and associate of Brewster, disciple of the saintly Robinson,
rose from the perusal of one of the old Bibles, or of “Ball on Faith,”
“Spasles against Heresie,” or “Dodd on the Lord’s Supper,” to stab
Pecksuot to the heart with his own knife; a giant who had taunted him
with his small stature, in almost the very words of Goliah in his
insulting sneer at David, long before; and to cut off the head of
Watawamat, which bloody trophy the elders had ordered him to bring home
with him. We can imagine him on the evening of that cheaply victorious
day, taking more than usual pleasure in the exultant psalms of the
warrior David, and in a chapter of Burrough’s “Christian Contentement”
and “Gospell Conversation,” especially as he had his three muskets with
bandoleers, and Bariffe’s Artillery, close at his hand. One can feel
the unction with which the valorous Pilgrim would religiously fulfil
the colonial order to smite the heathen hip and thigh, and hew Agag in
pieces before the Lord.

“Not originally, and perhaps never, a member of the Pilgrim church, and
possessing many traits which might have belonged to the fierce trooper,
in an army whose cavalry was the legitimate descendant of Cæsar’s most
formidable enemies,--the Batavi, celebrated for cavalry qualities,
and long the body-guard of the Roman emperors,--the appearance of the
somewhat violent soldier, in the saintly company of Parson Robinson’s
church, is an anomaly.

“It has been proven many a time, from the days of Bannockburn, when the
Scottish host sank on its knees to receive the benediction of the Black
Abbot of Inchaffray, even to our own late day, when many of the best
fighting regiments were blessed with the most earnest chaplains, that
men never tender their lives more gallantly to God and mother-land than
when they are fervently preached to and prayed for.

“Yet the all-daring contempt for peril, the roughness of temper, the
masterly economy with which Standish saved human life by consumate
indifference to personal homicide upon prudent occasion, his power of
breathing his own fiery heart into a handful of followers, till he made
them an army able to withstand a host in the narrow gates of death,
would lead us to expect such a colleague for the saintly Brewster as
little as we should expect to see Sheridan--

          “‘Cavalry Sheridan,
  Him of the horses and sabres we sing’--

prominent among the Methodists.

“In truth, with the poem of our sweetest and most cultured bard in our
minds, and with the memory of those fierce monosyllables with which our
great cavalry leader rolled back defeat upon the jubilant rebel host,
and rescued victory at Winchester, fancy can depict the foaming black
horse pressed into the rush of the shell-shattered guidons by the iron
gripe of knees booted in “Cordovan leather,” and imagine that little
Myles Standish rode that day in the saddle of little Phil. Sheridan.

“To the genealogist, who believes that names represent qualities and
things, it is not unpleasing to find in the family record of Standish
and Duxbury Hall, in the parish church of Chorley, Old England, the
name Milo Standanaught. To stand at nothing, in the way of a duty
commanded by the civil authority, seemed the essence of character in
Myles Standish; and thoroughness stamps the reputation of the name and
blood to-day.

“The materials for personal biography are scanty. His wife, Rose
Standish,--an English rose,--whose very name augurs unfitness for a
New England winter on an unsettled cape, died within a month of the
landing. A light tradition exists that his second wife, Barbara, was
her sister, whom he left an orphan child in England, and sent for.
She arrived a woman grown, and the valorous captain added another
illustration to the poet’s story, that Venus and the forger of
thunderbolts were married.

“From the first anchorage, Captain Standish, as the soldier of the
company, was charged with all deeds of adventure. At first, certain
grave elders were sent with him for counsel. But ultimately his repute
in affairs, both civil and military, was such that he was for many
years the treasurer of the colony, and, during a period of difficulty,
their agent in England. As a soldier, he was evidently the Von Moltke
of the Pilgrims. They invested him with the general command. Even in
extreme old age--the very year that he died “very auncient and full of
dolorous paines”--he received his last and fullest commission against
new enemies, his old friends, the Dutch.

“It is singular that among the primitive people, who must often in the
later Indian wars have missed his counsel and conduct, as the poet
describing Venice, sighs,--

  “‘Oh! for one hour of blind old Dandole.’

no clear tradition has descended of the place where the war-worn bones
of the soldier-pilgrim lie. Sent, like Moses, to guide and guard a
feeble people to a promised land of power that he might never see, no
man knoweth his burial-place until this day.

“More than one hundred years ago, the following paragraph appeared in
the Boston “News-Letter,” dated Boston, January 22, 1770: “We hear
from Plymouth that the 22d day of December last was there observed
by a number of gentlemen, by the name of the Old Colony Club, in
commemoration of the landing of their ancestors in that place.”

“The fourth toast on that occasion, a hundred and one years ago,
was, “To the memory of that brave man and good officer, Capt. Miles

“Over the graves of the guests at that dinner,--

  “‘For fifty years the grasses have been growing.’

But the principle of public fidelity shares the immortality of God
and Truth. Reverence for it never dies till the decay of nations. And
to-day we come together, the dwellers in the city and the dwellers
on the shore, men of every age and all professions, to dedicate one
spot of this parental soil for an enduring monument to the same Myles
Standish of the same unfaded record. The sunlight of near three hundred
years, that has shone fatal on many a reputation since his baby eyes
first saw the light of England, has only brought out the lasting colors
of his fame.

“Believing, as I firmly do, that he was a useful, a necessary citizen,
because he was ‘that brave man and good officer’ at a time when
soldierly qualities were essential to the very life of the infant
colony, it seems to me providential for the colonists that one of their
number was, by temper and training, unable to sympathize with that soft
tenderness for human life which is wont to characterize saintly-minded
men, like the Rev. Mr. Robinson, who, when he heard of the marvelous
conflict where Standish, with three or four others, in a locked room,
killed the same number of hostile chiefs that were gathering their
tribes to exterminate the English, uttered these sorrowful words: ‘Oh!
that you had converted some before you had killed any!’

“The soldier practised that terrible piece of economy which no saint
of the company would have dreamed of doing with his own hand. To borrow
the diction of the time, the gauntlet of the man of wrath was the fold
of the lambs of God. It was fortunate for us who believe in Plymouth
Rock, that one trained soldier, who had faced war conducted by the Duke
of Alva, came out in the Mayflower.

“Myles Standish represented the true idea of public service, vigorous
fidelity, and trained fitness for his place. In his single heroic
person he presented the true idea of the army,--skilled military force
in loyal subordination to the civil authority. The confidence that the
colony reposed in him to execute their most difficult commands as a
soldier, seems to prove that he revered, in the words of Mr. Robinson’s
farewell sermon, ‘the image of the Lord’s power and authority which the
magistrate beareth.’

“To be the founders of states is the first of glories, according to
Lord Bacon. The career of our Pilgrim hero is a beautiful illustration
of an education fitted to the great mission for which he seemed
peculiarly, strangely ordained.

“In grateful memory we consecrate this spot of earth to a monument of
the great Puritan Captain. May its shadow fall upon his grave! For two
centuries the stars have looked upon it. At what moment of the night
the circling moon may point it out with shadowy finger, no mortal
knows. No mortal ear can hear the secret whispered to the night,
‘Beneath this spot lies all of a hero that could die.’”

Several other eloquent addresses were made upon the occasion by General
B. F. Butler, Dr. Loring, and other gentlemen of the highest social
standing. The community is deeply indebted to Stephen M. Allen, Esq.,
one of the prominent citizens of Duxbury, for the time and money he
has devoted to furtherance of this good enterprise. As Corresponding
Secretary of the Standish Memorial Association, he has been one of
the most efficient agents in pushing forward the truly patriotic

On Monday, the 7th of October, 1872, the corner-stone of the Standish
monument was laid. It was indeed a gala day in the ancient town of
Duxbury. It is estimated that ten thousand people were present.
The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company, of Boston, acted
as escort to the procession. Several Masonic Lodges, with their
glittering paraphernalia took part in the imposing ceremonies. As
the long procession wound up the slope of Captain’s Hill, thousands
of spectators lined their path on either side. A memorial box was
deposited under the corner-stone with a metallic plate which bore the
following inscription:

                            THE CORNER STONE

                                 OF THE

                           STANDISH MEMORIAL,



                        CAPTAIN MYLES STANDISH,

                            OF NEW ENGLAND,

        Laid on the summit of Captain’s Hill, in Duxbury, under
                         the Superintendence of

                           OF MASSACHUSETTS,

                             In presence of


                                 BY THE

                   M. W. GRAND LODGE OF FREE MASONS,
                            OF MASSACHUSETTS


               ON THE SEVENTH DAY OF OCTOBER, A. D. 1872.

           Being the Two Hundred and Fifty-second Year since
                  the First Settlement of New England

                                 BY THE

                            PILGRIM FATHERS.

                   SITE CONSECRATED AUGUST 17, 1871.

                 ASSOCIATION INCORPORATED MAY 4, 1872.

                               17, 1872.

               CORNER OF FOUNDATION LAID AUGUST 9, 1872.

This fine shaft rises one hundred and ten feet from its base, and is
surmounted by a bronze statue of the Captain, in full uniform, twelve
feet in height, and is said to be a truthful likeness. The diameter of
the shaft, at its base, is twenty-eight feet. The structure is of the
finest quality of Quincy granite. I will close this brief narrative
with the eloquent words of Gen. Horace Binney Sargent:

“High as the shaft may tower over headland and bay; deep as its
foundation-stones may rest; brightly as it may gleam in the rising or
setting sun upon the mariner returning in the very furrow that the
keel of the Mayflower made, the principles of common-sense, a citizen
soldier’s education for a citizen soldier’s work, the principles of
moral truth, manly honesty, prudent energy, fidelity incorruptible,
courage undauntable, all the qualities of manhood that compel
unflinching execution of the states’ behest,--are firmer and higher
and brighter still. And to crown them all is reverence to the Supreme
Executive of Earth and Heaven, who knows no feebleness of heart or
hand, and whose great purpose moved the war-worn Pilgrim’s feet to seek
his home upon this rock-bound continent, where the unceasing waves of
two unfettered oceans roar the choral hymn of Freedom.”



[1] Winslow’s Briefe Narrative, p. 31.

[2] Bradford, 25, 26.

[3] Works of Sir Walter Raleigh.

[4] Mourt’s Narrative.

[5] Mourt’s Narrative.

[6] A musket with a flint lock.

[7] Johnson’s Wonder Working Providence.

[8] Note to Young’s Chronicles of the Pilgrims.

[9] A Duck.

[10] Mourt’s Relation.

[11] The bill of mortality, according to Prince, which he copied from
Bradford, was as follows: In December, six died; in January, eight; in
February, seventeen; in March, thirteen; total, forty-four.

[12] Made of maize or Indian corn.

[13] James I., then King of England, had been a widower for about a

[14] This was probably the fish called _tataug_.

[15] Abbott’s Life of King Philip.

[16] Mr. Drake, in his History of Boston, supposes that the “cliff”
alluded to must have been that pile of rocks now called “the chapel,”
in Quincy Bay.

[17] The Fortune.

[18] It will be remembered that, as half of their number had died,
seven houses accommodated the survivors.

[19] Morton, in his New English Canaan, writes: “There is a fish, by
some called shads, that at the spring of the year pass up the rivers
to spawn in the ponds, and are taken in such multitudes in every river
that hath a pond at the end, that the inhabitants dung their ground
with them. You may see in one township a hundred acres together set
with these fish, every acre taking a thousand of them. And an acre thus
dressed will produce and yield so much corn as three acres without

It was the rule of the Indians to plant their corn when the leaves of
the white oak were as big as the ear of a mouse. They put two or three
fishes in every cornhill.

[20] Probably Martha’s Vineyard, then called Capawock.

[21] Subsequently Mr. Winslow wrote, correcting this statement:
“Whereas, myself and others, in former letters, wrote that the Indians
about us are a people without any religion or knowledge of any God,
therein I erred, though we could then gather no better.”--Winslow’s
Good News.

[22] There is some uncertainty about this word, but this is probably
the true reading.

[23] Mr. George Morton, to whom this letter was addressed, came out
in the next ship, the Ann, which sailed from London about the last of
April, 1622.

[24] Memoir of the Colony of Plymouth, by Francis Baylies. Part the
First, page 91.

[25] Winslow in Young; p. 290.

[26] History of Plymouth Plantation, by William Bradford, p. 127.

[27] Young’s Chronicles of the Pilgrims, p. 295.

[28] Mr. Weston had formerly befriended the plantation at Plymouth.

[29] Winslow in Young, p. 297.

[30] Young’s Chronicles; p. 299.

[31] Young’s Chronicles, p. 310.

[32] Young’s Chronicles, p. 318.

[33] Young’s Chronicles, p. 320.

[34] Bradford’s Plymouth Plantation; p. 130.

[35] Bradford in Prince, p. 216.

[36] Young’s Chronicles, p. 349

[37] Bradford’s Plymouth Plantation, p. 135.

[38] Bradford’s Plymouth Plantation, p. 211.

[39] Baylies’ Memoir of Plymouth Colony, p. 140.

[40] Blake’s Plymouth Colony, p. 153.

[41] Life of Elder William Brewster, p. 335.

[42] Higginson’s New England Plantation, p. 123.

[43] Bradford’s Plymouth Plantation.

[44] The name of the man thus shot was John Talbot.

[45] Bradford’s Plymouth Plantation, p. 321.

[46] Bradford’s Plymouth Plantation, p. 339.

[47] Bradford’s Plymouth Plantation, p. 363.

[48] Memoir of Plymouth Colony, by Francis Baylies, p. 249.

[49] There is a little uncertainty whether Elder Brewster died in the
year 1640 or 1644.

[50] Morton says, “He was fourscore and four years of age.”

[51] Memoir of New Plymouth, by Francis Baylies, part i, p. 277.

Transcriber’s Notes

Punctuation and spelling were made consistent when a predominant
preference was found in this book; otherwise they were not changed.

Simple typographical errors were corrected; occasional unbalanced
quotation marks corrected.

Ambiguous hyphens at the ends of lines were retained; occurrences of
inconsistent hyphenation have not been changed.

Page 192: “four hundred of the Indians had been massacred” was printed
that way, but “Indians” may be the wrong word.

Page 243: “so reasonable, that one acre” was misprinted as “so
reasonable, than one acre”.

Page 265: “ascendency” was printed that way.

Page 365: “consumate” was printed that way.

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