Gambar halaman
PDF

of death in case, after fourteen days, they should be found “in the Massachusetts, or in or near Providence, or any of the lands of Pomham or Sacononoco.”" To await their friends, as they said, some of them met at Boston, whence, by a warrant from the Governor, they were summoned to depart within two hours. They reassembled in their old home, where John Warner, “Secretary, by the order of the government of Shawomet,” wrote to Winthrop to inquire whether the General Court could have meant that place by “the lands of Pomham and Sacononoco;” and receiving his reply that it was so, they retired to. Rhode Island.” The next step showed their resolution, their capacity for business, and that power of theirs which it had been thought so important to subdue. The neighboring Narragansetts, seeing the “Gortonoges,” as they called them, return unharmed from their transportation to Massachusetts, were ready to believe that they were under the protection of a superior power, and that “the great peo. ple that were in Old England would come over and put them to death that should take away their lives without a just cause.” Encouraging, and availing themselves of this impression, six or seven of Gorton's party crossed over to the mainland, and succeeded in conclud: Cession of . - - - in No. ing a treaty with Canonicus, Mixan (his son), and 3. * Pessacus (brother and successor of Miantonomo) ". to no less effect than that of a complete cession of the Narragansett people and territory “unto the protection, care, and government of that worthy and royal prince, Charles, King of Great Britain and Ireland, his heirs and successors for ever.” In the instrument of surrender, evidently composed for their signature by English hands, the Savages declared that they took this course “upon condition of his Majesty's royal protection,” and because of having “just cause of jealousy and suspicion of some of his Majesty's pretended subjects;” and they certified that they had “made choice of four of his loyal and loving subjects, our trusty and well-beloved friends, Samuel Gorton, John Wickes, Randall Holden, and John Warner, whom we have deputed and made our lawful attorneys and commissioners, not only for the acting and performing of this our deed in the behalf of his Highness, but also for the safe custody, careful conveyance, and declaration hereof unto his Grace.”" Under the same dictation, as is evident from the topics and style, Canonicus and Pessacus addressed a letter to the General Court of Massachusetts, refusing an invitation to present themselves there in person; animadverting on the fate of Miantonomo; declaring their purpose to avenge it on Uncas, who, they alleged, had taken a ransom for his life; and announcing their “being subjects now [for the opportunity for a taunt was not to be lost] unto the same King and State yourselves are,” to whom, in case of any difference, it would accordingly be fit “for both of us to have recourse.” A letter presently followed from John Warner, who called himself Secretary to “the Commissioners put in Trust for the further Publication of the Solemn Act” of the Narragansetts in their cession to the King. It confirmed the statement of that cession, and threatened the Massachusetts people with the vengeance of the King and of the Mohawks, should they presume to interfere.” The General Court sent two messengers to the Narragansett sachems, to vindicate their own course, and to advise them to be quiet and to detach themselves from their pernicious English friends. The envoys were roughly received. “Canonicus would not admit them into his wigwam for two hours, but suffered them to stay in the rain. When he did admit them, he lay along upon his couch, and would not speak to them more than a few froward speeches, but referred them to Pessacus.” Pessacus gave them no satisfaction, but persisted in the threat of a renewal of hostilities against Uncas." His resentment, however, took counsel of his fears; and at the second annual meeting of the Commissioners of the Confederacy;” things continued to stand substantially as they had done, though the rumor of danger, taking different forms, from time to time, through various accidents, had kept the western Colonies in extreme uneasiness, and in a posture of constant preparation at once harassing and expensive. An embassy sent by the Commissioners to the Narragansett chiefs had better success than the recent one from Massachu

March

April 1.

* Simplicitie's Defence, 74; Winthrop, II. 148, 156; Mass. Rec., II. 57. – When they were imprisoned, they were threatened with death, if they should continue to vent their “blasphemous and abominable heresies.” Some of them did continue to vent those heresies with great diligence and passion.

And then they were sent out of the
jurisdiction, with a threat of death if
they should return. It was easier to
make such a threat than to execute
or to mean it, whatever want of dig-
nity there may have been in attempt-
ing to influence by a false alarm.
* Simplicitie's Defence, 76–79.

May 24.

* Simplicitie's Defence, 79–84; R. I. Rec., I. 136–188; Winthrop, II. 165, Rec., I. 134 – 136. 166. * Simplicitie's Defence, 85, 86; R. I. * Simplicitie's Defence, 87–89; R. I.

May 29

Sept. 5.

Rec., I. 138–140; Winthrop, II. 165, 166. – “That indignity offered and done unto their sovereign which cannot be borne nor put up, without a sharp and princely revenge.” “We tender our allegiance and subjection unto our King and State, unto which they are become fellow-subjects with ourselves.” “Being abroad of late about our occasions, we fell to be where one of the sachems of that great people of Maukquogges was, with some of his men, whom we perceive are the most fierce and warlike people in the country or continent where we are, furnished with 3,700 guns, men expert in the use of them, plenty of powder and shot, with furniture for their bodies in time of war for their safety. . . . . . We understand that of late they have slain

a hundred French, with many Indians which were in league with the French, putting many of them to cruel tortures, and have lost but two of their own men. These being, as we understand, deeply affected with the Narragansetts in the

loss of their late sachem, . . . . . are resolved . . . . . to wage war to the uttermost, . . . . . which it seems is the very

spirit of that people to be exercised that way.” This rhodomontade of Warner was designed to increase the effect of a report which had spread, perhaps with good foundation, that a large force of Mohawks had gathered on the English frontier.

* Winthrop, II. 165, 166.

* It took place at Hartford. For the names of the Commissioners, see the Appendix.

[ocr errors]

setts. Under the influence of the friendly, and at the same time resolute, tone with which they were addressed, they accepted the proposal, made to them and Uncas alike, to “propound their several grievances” to the Commissioners, and sent “a sagamore, with other considerable persons, as their deputies,” to conclude an arrangement. “The Commissioners gave a full hearing both to the

Narragansett deputies and to Uncas, sagamore of the

Mohegans.” The chief dispute related to a ransom
which was alleged on one side, and denied on the other,
to have been paid to Uncas for the life of his captive,
and of which the Commissioners decided “that they
did not find any proof.” Though the controversy was
not closed, the important point was carried of gaining
time for passions to subside. In the sequel of explana-
tions by the Commissioners of the past course of their
constituents and of their resolutions for the future, “the
Narrohiggansett sachem, advising with the other deputies,
engaged himself in the behalf of the Narrohiggansetts
and Nayanticks, that no hostile acts should be
committed upon Uncas or any of his, until after o
the next planting of corn; and that, after that, "...
before they began any war, they would give
thirty days' warning to the Governor of the Massachu-
setts or Connecticut.” A further stipulation was, “that
they would not use any means to procure the Mahwakes
to come against Uncas during this truce.” Gorton's
party continued to live unmolested upon Rhode Island.”

* Records, &c., in Hazard, II, 25, 26. —“It was clearly proved otherwise.” (Winthrop, II. 198. Comp. Letter of Haynes to Winthrop, in Mass. Hist. Coll, XXI 229.)

* Records, &c. in Hazard, II. 14– 16, 25 – 27.

* Coddington's impatience of Gorton's presence is expressed in a letter to Winthrop, of August 5, 1644, preserved in the Massachusetts Archives

(II. 4, 5). “For Gorton, as he came
to be of the island before I knew of it,
and is here against my mind, so shall
he not be by me protected.” “Here
is a party which do adhere unto Gorton
and his company in both the planta-
tions, and judge them so much strength
to the place, which be neither friends
to you nor us.”
Johnson (Wonder-Working Provi-
dence of Zion's Saviour, 182—188)
has told the story of these proceedings
against the Narragansetts and Gorton's
company; but without adding to our
knowledge of the facts, obtained from
sources more satisfactory.
* Gorton and his party were severe-
ly dealt with. It is no part of the
historian's office to frame justifications
for acts which he records. But he
should endeavor to produce the true
explanations of whatever is perplex-
ing. And it is a mistake to suppose
that the suggestion of culpable motives
for a course of action is the suggestion
the most likely to elucidate it. The
contrary is true, when the characters
involved are on the whole such as
have affinity with worthy motives.
The Magistrates of Massachusetts
had perhaps never heard the name of
Gorton before Roger Williams wrote
to Winthrop that he was afraid the
restless demagogue would drive him
away from Providence. (See above, p.
120, note 2; 118, note 5.) Eight months
more had passed, when the original
planters in the outskirts of that feebly
organized settlement complained at
Boston, that Gorton had obtained land
“over their heads,” and raised a riot
which had led to blows. At the same
time the Magistrates learned that he
was associated in his machinations
with persons whom they had lately had
to deal with for misbehavior within
their own confines; and further in-
quiry must have brought them the in-
formation, that most of his company
had been disturbers, of whom they had

To protract the dispute by another seizure of their persons would have been at once to re-introduce an element among the dangers of a Narragansett war, and to complicate the relations, already critical enough, with the mother country. We are in due time, however, to see that it was soon revived in another form, and that it was not pacified for many years."

formerly had to rid themselves, and that
he himself had been banished from
Plymouth for “seditious carriage,” pun-
ished by whipping on Rhode Island for
riot and mutiny, and refused “inhab-
itation and town privileges” by Wil-
liams and his friends at Providence for
“his uncivil and inhuman practices; ”
in short, that wherever he had been, he
had been an intolerable pest.
The complainants received for an-
swer, that they were no subjects of
Massachusetts, and that the way for
them to seek their right to live quietly,
was to attach themselves to some or-
derly government. Having borne their
discomforts through the greater part of
another year, they resolved at length
to place themselves under her protec-
tion; and Massachusetts, unwilling to
have an anarchy grow up upon her
borders, – as well for more general
reasons, as because it would leave un-
restrained such treatment of the In-
dians as would be at once unjust and
dangerous, – took the same course as
had been before taken with the de-
tached settlements in New Hampshire
and Maine, and received the petition-
ers under her government.
The other party, under furious ex-
asperation, which they first expressed
in a letter, conceived in abusive and
threatening terms which showed them
prepared to do their utmost possible of
harm, removed towards the Narragan-
sett country, where they pretended to
have bought lands of its chief. Mean-
time other circumstances lent a much

« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »