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Their friends exulted in what appeared to be the smile of Providence upon their efforts. Eliot was indefatigable, though in the face of discouragements, some of which even his sanguine temper could not disregard. The chiefs of the great tribes all opposed him. It was evident that his success would impair their authority. “Some tribute” the converts were “willing to pay, but not as formerly;” and the Commissioners thought it prudent to instruct Eliot to “be slow in withdrawing Indian professors from paying accustomed tribute, and performing other lawful services, to their sagamores.””
The caution thus enforced upon him was scarcely to be reconciled with the execution of a project, which he had entertained from the first, and which, as soon as possible, he proceeded to realize. He thought it material to collect his native followers into a separate society.” Nonantum, the place of his early successes, did not seem to him well adapted for this purpose. He looked for some spot “somewhat remote from the English, where the word might be constantly taught, and government constantly exercised, means of good subsistence provided, encouragements for the industrious, means of instructing them in letters, trades, and labors, as building, fishing, flax and hemp dressing, planting orchards, &c.” On co, Charles River, about eighteen miles west from of converts Boston, he found a site, called by the Indians
“”. Natio, which appeared well suited to his purpose.
He laid out lands on both sides of the stream, which was not fordable at all seasons, and under his direction the Indians built a foot-bridge across, eighty feet in length, and prepared timber for a house. Along two streets on one side of the river, and one street on the other side, parcels of land, each sufficient for a dwelling, a garden, and an orchard, were enclosed, and one such homestead was assigned to each native head of a family. A palisaded fort was erected, and a “common house,” fifty feet long and twenty-five feet wide. The latter, constructed by the natives with a little assistance from an English carpenter, contained a hall which served on Sundays for a place of worship, and on other days for a school-room, a second story being divided between a store-room and an apartment for Mr. Eliot." The converts of Nonantum having been here brought together, the first thing to be done was to provide for the keeping of order among them. Eliot's scheme of a government was simple, and he did not anticipate any practi. cal difficulties in carrying it out. “I propound this,” he said, “as my general rule through the help of the Lord; they shall be wholly governed by the Scriptures in all things both in church and state; they shall have no other lawgiver.”* Having explained his plan in those of its details which required to be first considered, he convoked a meeting to put it in operation. After prayer, he expounded the eighteenth chapter of Exodus; and the Indians then proceeded to elect a “ruler of an hundred,” two “rulers of fifties,” and ten “rulers of tens,” otherwise called tithing-men.” After a few weeks, the community further imitated the example of the Israelites
poration. It was published in 1652,
&c. (1655), and “A Further Account
* “Further Discovery,” &c., 36, 37. who should be his ruler often, the rulers “Further Progress,” &c., 17, 18; comp. standing in order, and every man going
Mass. Rec., III. 246, 294. to the man he chose.” The teacher * “Further Discovery,” &c., 28, 28, and rulers were compensated by a col* “Further Progress,” &c., 9, 10. – lection of tithes of the “yearly increase
Probably the numerical division was not of all sorts of grain and pulse.” (Gookstrictly observed, for “every man chose in, in Mass. Hist. Coll., I. 178.) VOL. II. 29
by entering, with public solemnities, “into covenant with God and each other to be the Lord's people, and to be governed by the word of the Lord in all things.” The Governor, with Mr. Wilson and others, came to satisfy themselves as to what had been done;” and “declared their joy to see such beginnings.” After a cautious delay of three years, eight isol converts were examined at Roxbury by some *** ministers convened by Eliot for the purpose of ascertaining whether they were in a state of preparation “to enter into church covenant.” Their proficiency was approved, but that important measure was still postponed.” The General Court appointed a committee “to lay out is a meet bounds for the Indian plantation at Na** tick,” the town of Dedham having already enlarged it by the gift of two thousand acres.” A similar community, less numerous, was collected at Punkapog, now Stoughton." It was for the advantage of all parties that such establishments should be wisely superin
tended; and Daniel Gookin, an Assistant, was chosen to be “ruler over the praying Indians in
the Colony of Massachusetts.” He faithfully executed this office for many years, till his death, with the excep
tion of two or three years, during which it was
“sustained by Humphrey Atherton, Gookin being most of that time absent in England."
* “Further Progress,” &c., 10; comp.
called Littleton, Marlborough, and Graf.
The evangelical labors of Thomas Mayhew, the younger, in Martha's Vineyard, had preceded those of Eliot, at least in respect to systematic instruction. They were so successful, that, in his first communication to the Society for Propagating the Gospel, he was able to report: “Through the mercy of God, there are an hundred ninety- i.” nine men, women, and children, that have pro- vineyard. fessed themselves to be worshippers of the great co, and ever-living God.” In the next year the num- loa ber of his converts had increased to “two hundred “” eighty-three Indians, not counting young children.” Public worship was conducted by natives in two places on the Lord's day, and “about thirty Indian children were
at school.” The prospect which he had opened was isor clouded by his premature death. A vessel in * which he had embarked for England with some of his converts was never heard of afterwards. But the enterprise was not abandoned. “Old Mr. Mayhew, his worthy father, struck in with his best strength and skill;” and the loss which seemed “almost irreparable” was not permitted by the aged mourner to be complete and fatal. The southern Colonies of New England did not prove to be fertile missionary ground. More powerful, better Missionary compacted, and less needy than their countrymen room the in Massachusetts, the Mohegans, Narragansetts, 3. Wampanoags, and Nyantics were less suscept. ible of influence from their new neighbors. It was thought matter of surprise, that, “in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations,” where the language of the natives was so well understood by Mr. Williams and others, “no conversions had taken place among them;” and one reason of this barrenness was supposed to be “the bad example of the English in those parts, where civil government and religion ran very low.”* The remnants of the Pequot race were in intimate dependence upon the English; but among them the labors of Mr. Richard Blindman “found a very scanty requital, so far as is known. “In the jurisdiction of Connecticut, Mr. Abraham Pierson, pastor of the church at Branford, having gained some knowledge of the Indian tongue, made some beginnings, and continued in that work some years, to preach the Gospel to some Indians in those parts;” but Gookin had not “heard of any considerable fruits of his
to constitute and appoint Indian Com-
advance martial discipline, and withal
• Gookin, in Mass. Hist. Coll., I. 203. ... " Letter of Commissioners, in Hazard, II. 397. * See above, p. 195, note 5.-Cotton (Way Cleared, &c., 79–82) is very severe upon Williams for neglecting, with his facilities for addressing the Indians,
“to take the opportunity of preaching to them the word of the Lord.”
* It is not even certain that Mr. Blindman accepted the appointment offered to him by the Commissioners. (Records, &c., in Hazard, II. 371, 372, 878.)