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ran off with the ship from Milford harbour. The people completely armed and manned a vessel, with so much dispatch, that they pressed hard upon the ship before she could reach the Dutch island. The men, perceiving they must be taken, unless they immediately abandoned the ship, made their escape in their boat. The ship, thus left adrift, was recovered, and brought into Milford harbour, and, with all her goods, condemned as a lawful prize.
At the general election, May 18th, Mr. Hopkins, though in England, was chosen governor. Mr. Wells was appointed deputy governor. Mr. Webster, Mr. Mason, Mr. Winthrop, Mr. Culfick, Mr. Wolcott, Mr. Clark, Mr. Wyllys, son of George Wyllys, and Mr. John Talcott, were elected magistrates. Mr. Cullick was secretary, and Mr. Talcott treasurer.
At this court, the freemen passed the following resolution, as an addition to the fundamentals of their constitution:-“ That the major part of the magistrates, in the absence of the governor and deputy governor, shall have power to call a general court; and that any general court, being legally called and met, the major part of the magistrates and deputies then met, in the absence of the governor and deputy governor, shall have power to choose unto, and from among themselves, a moderator, which being done, they shall be deemed as legal a general court, as if the governor, or deputy governor were present.”
At the election in New-Haven, May 31st, the only alteration in public officers, was the addition of Mr. Samuel Eaton, of NewHaven, to the magistrates, and the choice of Mr. Benjamin Fenn, in the room of captain John Astwood.
About the same time, in answer to the petitions of Connecticut and New-Haven, major Sedgwick and captain Leveret arrived at Boston, with a fleet of three or four ships, and a small number of land forces, sent by Oliver Cromwell, lord protector, for the reduction of the Dutch. On the 8th of June, governor Eaton received a letter from his highness, certifying, that he had sent ships and ammunition for the assistance of the colonies. With this came a letter from major Sedgwick and captain Leveret, requesting, that commissioners might be sent immediately from each of the governments, to consult with them on the objects of the designed expedition. Mr. William Leet and Mr. Jordan were appointed commissioners for New-Haven. They were authorised to engage, in behalf of that jurisdiction, to furnish all the men and provisions which it could spare. An embargo was laid on all provisions, and every measure adopted, that the utmost assistance might be given, in the enterprise. Such was the zeal of the general court, that they instructed their commissioners to engage the assistance of that colony, though no other, except Connecticut, should join with them.
On the 13th of June, the general court of Connecticut convened, at Hartford, and appointed major John Mason and Mr. Cullick commissioners. They were directed to proceed with the utmost dispatch to Boston; and, in behalf of Connecticut, to engage any number of men, not exceeding two hundred, but rather than the expedition should fail, four or five hundred.
The general court of Massachusetts was convoked on the oth of June, but did not agree to raise any men themselves. They granted liberty, nevertheless, for major Sedgwick and captain Leveret to raise five hundred volunteers. The commissioners finally agreed upon 800 men, as sufficient for the enterprise. The ships were to furnish two hundred soldiers; three hundred volunteers were to be raised in Massachusetts; two hundred men were to be sent from Connecticut; and a hundred and thirty three from New-Haven. But while preparations were making with vigor and dispatch, the news of peace, between England and Holland, prevented all further proceedings relative to the affair.
The total defeat of the Dutch fleet, the loss of admiral Tromp and a great number of their merchantmen, made the Dutch in earnest for peace; and it was expeditiously concluded, on the 5th of April. The news of it arrived in America, almost as soon as the fleet. The commander in chief therefore cmployed his forces, with the Massachusetts volunteers, in dispossessing the French from Penobscot, St. John's, and the adjacent coast. This was doubtless one object of the expedition, and not undertaken without orders from the protector.
It was not expected, that there would have been any meeting of the commissioners this year. Massachusetts had violated the articles of union, and the colonies had protested against them, as breakers of the most solemn confederation. The general court of Massachusetts had also represented, to the other colonies, that the articles needed explanation and emendation, that they might be consistent with the rights of the several general courts. Indeed, it had proposed a meeting of the commissioners for that purpose. The other colonies viewed the articles as perfectly intelligible, and consistent with the rights of the confederates. They therefore rejected the motion. The general court of New-Haven had voted, that there was no occasion for appointing commissioners that
But on the 5th of July, governor Eaton received a letter from the general court of the Massachusetts, waiving an answer to the letter jointly written from the general courts of Connecticut and New-Haven, and lamely excusing their non-compliance with the resolution of the commissioners, on the account of their not being able to apprehend the justice of the war with the Dutch and Ninigrate. They complained of the other colonies, for treating them as violators of the confederacy. They professed themselves to be passionately desirous of its continuance, according to the genuine construction of the articles. They gave information, that they had chosen commissioners, and had determined to empower them as had been usual.
The general court, at New-Haven, replied, that they and the other colonies had justly charged them with a violation of their covenant, and urged, that, according to their own interpretation of the articles, they stood responsible to them for the infraction; and that, according to the eleventh article of the confederation, they were to be treated by them according to the magnitude of their fault. They observed, that her sister colonies had not only condemned their conduct, but had sent messengers and taken proper pains to inform them, and adjust the difference between them; but that they had treated them in a very disagreeable manner, and their endeavours had been to no good purpose. They declared, nevertheless, that, if the combination might be again firmly settled, according to the original intention and grammatical sense of the articles, they would, without further satisfaction, forgetting what was past, cheerfully renew their covenant, and send their commissioners to meet, at any time and place, for that end. This was subscribed by the secretary, and sent to Hartford, to be subscribed by the general court of Connecticut; and to be transmitted, in the name of each of the colonies, to the Massachusetts. This, it seems, was harmoniously done.
As the general court of the Massachusetts would not join with her confederates, against Ninigrate, he prosecuted the war against the Long-Island Indians, and it was supposed, that his design was to destroy, both those Indians and the Moheagans. For this purpose he had hired the Mohawks, Pocomtocks, and Wampanoags, afterwards called Philip's Indians, to assist him. By a collection of such numbers of Indians, from the westward, northward, and eastward, the general peace of the country would have been greatly endangered, and the Long-Island Indians, who had put then selves under the protection of the English, exposed to a total extirpation. They had been obliged, not only to fortify themselves, and to use every precaution for their own defence, but to suffer the loss of many of their people, who had been already either slain or captivated.
The deputy governor, and council, of Connecticut, judged it an affair of such importance, to defend their allies, and provide for their own safety, that they determined to dispatch major Mason, with ammunition, and a number of men, to the assistance of the Indians upon the Island. The deputy governor and Mr. Clark acquainted governor Eaton with their views and determination, and desired that the colony of New-Haven would send lieutenant Seely, with a detachment of men, and with supplies of ammunition, to second their design. The court of New-Haven complied with the desire of Connecticut. Lieutenant Seely had orders to join major Mason at Saybrook. They were instructed to acquaint the Montauket Indians, that the colonies made them that present of ammunition, wholly for their own defence, and not to enable them to injure Ninigrate, or any other Indians, unless they should make an attack upon them: and that, while they continued faithful to the English, they would be their friends. It was ordered that, if Ninigrate should invade the Long-Island Indians, the English officers should use their endeavours to persuade them to peace, and to refer their differences to the decision of the commissioners. But if he would fight, they were commanded to defend themselves, and the Indians in alliance with the colonies, in the best manner they could."
On September 7th, the commissioners convened at Hartford. They consisted of the following gentlemen, Mr. Simon Bradstreet, major Denison, Mr. Thomas Prince, Mr. John Brown, major Mason, Mr. John Webster, governor Eaton, and Mr. Francis Newman. Governor Eaton was chosen president. They immediately dispatched messengers to Ninigrate, demanding his appearance at Hartford, and the payment of the tribute so long due for the Pequots under him. On the 18th, Mr. Jonathan Gilbert returned, and made a report of Ninigrate's answer, in the words following:
“ Concerning the Long-Island Indians, he answered, wherefore should he acquaint the commissioners, as the Long-Island Indians began with him, and had slain a sachem's son, and sixty of his men; and therefore he will not make peace with the LongIslanders; but doth desire that the English will let him alone; and that the commissioners would not request him to go to Hartford; for he hath done no hurt. What should he do there? If our governor's son were slain, and several other men, would you ask counsel of another nation, how and when to right yourselves? And added, that he would neither go nor send to Hartford. Concerning the upland Indians, his answer was, that they were his friends, and came to help him against the Long Islanders, who had killed several of his men. Wherefore should he acquaint the commissioners of it? He did but right his own quarrel, which the Long-Islanders began with him.” With respect to the tribute due for the Pequots, though he had never paid it, yet he pretended there was none due.
The commissioners, considering his perfidious conduct, the last year, his present answer, and that lenity and forbearance had been an encouragement of his insolence and barbarity, ordered forty horsemen, and two hundred and seventy infantry to be raised, to chastise his haughtiness. The Massachusetts were to raise the forty horsemen, and a hundred and fifty-three footmen;
Records of Connecticut and New-Haven.
Connecticut forty-five, and New-Haven thirty-one. Orders were given, that twenty horse, from Massachusetts, twenty-four men from Connecticut, and sixteen from New-Haven, should be immediately dispatched into the Nehantick country. The commissioners nominated major Gibbons, major Denison, or captain Atherton, to the chief command; leaving it, in complaisance, to the general court of Massachusetts, to appoint which of the three should be most agreeable to them. But rejecting these, who were men of known spirit and enterprise, they appointed major Willard. The commissioners instructed him to proceed with such troops, as should be found at the place of general rendezvous, by the 13th of October, directly to Ninigrate's quarters, and demand of him the Pequots, who had been put under him, and the tribute which was due. If Ninigrate should not deliver them, and pay the tribute, he was required to take them by force. He was instructed to demand of Ninigrate, a cessation from all further hostilities against the Long-Islanders. If he would not comply with these demands, he had express orders to subdue him. If a greater number of men should be found necessary, his instructions were to send for such a number, as he should judge sufficient to carry the expedition into effect. The place of rendezvous was at Thomas Stanton's, in the Narraganset country. When he arrived at the place appointed, he found that Ninigrate had filed into a swamp, at fourteen or fifteen miles distance from the army. He had left his country, corn, and wigwams, without defence, and they might have been laid waste, without loss or danger. Nevertheless, he returned, without ever advancing from his head quarters, or doing the enemy the least damage.
About a hundred Pequots took this opportunity to renounce the government of Ninigrate, and come off with the army. They put themselves under the protection and government of the English.
The commander pleaded, in excuse, that his instructions were equivocal, and the season for marching unfavorable. The commissioners, however, were entirely unsatisfied. They observed to him, “That, while the army was in the Narraganset country, Ninigrate had his mouth in the dust; and that he would have submitted to any reasonable terms, which might have been imposed upon him.” They charged the major with neglecting an opportunity of humbling his pride; and they referred it to his consideration, what satisfaction ought to be expected from him, and those of his council, who advised and joined with him in his measures. 1
Governor Hutchinson has observed, that major Willard was a Massachusetts man, and although that colony had so far complied with the rest, as to join in sending out the forces, yet they were still desirous of avoiding an open war. This was the second time of their preventing a general war, contrary to the minds of six of the commissioners of the other colonies.
* Records of the united colonies. · Hutchinson, vol. i. p. 186, 187.