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and no doubt labored under the disadvantage of not being personally known to the English.
As to the goods which Uncas had received, the commissioners say, “A part of them (were) disposed [of] by Miantunnomoh himself, to Ủncas' counsellors and captains, for some favor, either past or hoped for, and part were given and sent to Uncas, and to his squaw for preserving his life so long, and using him courteously during his imprisonment."
Here ended this matter ; but before the Narraganset deputies left the court, the English made them sign an agreement that they would not make war upon Uncas, “vntill after the next planting of corn.” And even then, that they should give 30 days' notice to the English before commencing hostilities. Also that if "any of the Nayantick Pecotts should make any assault upon Uncas or any of his, they would deliver them up to the English to be punished according to their demerits. And that they would not use any means to procure the Mawhakes to come against Uncas during this truce.” At the same time the English took due care to notify the Narraganset commissioners, by way of awing them into terms, that if they did molest the Mohegans, all the English would be upon them. The date of this agreement, if so we may call
it, is, “ Hartford, the xviijth of September, 1644," and was signed by four Indians; one besides those named above, called Chimough.
That no passage might be left open for excuse, in case of war, it was also mentioned, that “proof of the ransom charged” must be made satisfactory to the English before war was begun.
The power of Pessacus and Ninigret at this time was much feared by the English, and they were ready to believe any reports of the hostile doings of the Narragansets, who, since the subjection of the Pequots, had made themselves masters of all their neighbors, except the English, as the Pequots had done before them. The Mohegans were also in great fear of them, as well after as before the death of Miantunnomoh; but for whose misfortune in being made a prisoner by a stratagem of Uncas, or his captains, the English might have seen far greater troubles from them than they did, judging from the known abilities of that great chief.
There was “a meeting extraordinary” of the commissioners of the United Colonies, in July 1645, at Boston, “concerning the French business, and the wars between Pissicus and Vncus being begun.” Their first business was to despatch away messengers to request the appearance of the head men of the belligerents to appear themselves at Boston, or to send some of their chief men, that the difficulties between them might be settled.
These messengers, Sergeant John Dames, [Davis ?] Benedict Arnold, and Francis Smyth, on their first arrival at Narraganset, were welcomed by the sachems, who offered them guides to conduct them to Uncas; but, either having understood their intentions, or judging from their appearance that the English messengers meant them no good, changed their deportment altogether, and in the mean time secretly despatched messengers to the Nianticks before them, giving them to understand what was going forward. After this, say the messengers, “ there was nothing but proud and insolent passages (from Ninigret.] The Indian guides which they had brought with them from Pumham and Sokakanoco were, by frowns and threatening speeches, discouraged, and returned; no other guides could be obtained.” The sachems said they knew, by what was done at Hartford last year, that the English would urge peace," but they were resolved, they said, to have no peace without Uncas his head.” As to who began the war, they cared not, but they were resolved to continue it; that if the English did not withdraw their soldiers from Uncas, they should consider it a breach of former covenants, and would procure as many Mohawks as the English had soldiers to bring against them. They reviled Uncas for having wounded himself, and then charging it upon them, and said he was no friend of the English, but would now, if he durst, kill the English messengers, and lay that to them. Therefore, not being able to proceed, the English messengers returned to the Narragansets, and acquainted Pessacus of what had passed, desiring he would furnish them with guides; “he, in scorn, as they apprehended it,) offered them an old Peacott squaw.”.
The messengers now thought themselves in danger of being massacred; “three Indians with hatchets standing behind the interpreter in a suspicious manner, while he was speaking with Pessacus, and the rest frowning and expressing much distemper in their countenance and carriage.” So, without much loss of time, they began to retrace their steps. On leaving Pessacus, they told him they should lodge at an English trading house not far off that night, and if he wanted to send any word to the English, he might ser to them. In the morning, he invited them to return, and said he would furnish them with guides to visit Uncas, but he would not suspend hostilities. Not daring to risk the journey, the messengers returned home. Arnold, the interpreter, testified that this was a true relation of what had passed, which is necessary to be borne in mind, as something may appear, as we proceed, impeaching the veracity of Arnold.
Meanwhile the commissioners set forth an armament to defend Uncas, at all hazards. To justify this movement, they declare, that, “considering the great provocations offered, and the necessity we should be put unto of making war upon the Narrohiggin, &c. and being also careful in a matter of so great weight and general concernment to see the way cleared and to give satisfaction to all the colonists, did think fit to advise with such of the magistrates and elders of the Massachusetts as were then at hand, and also with some of the chief military commanders there, who being assembled, it was then agreed : First, that our engagement bound us to aid and defend the Mohegan sachem. Secondly, that this aid could not be intended only to defend him and his, in his fort or habitation, but, (according to the common acceptation of such covenants or engagements considered with the ground or occasion thereof,) so to aid him as hee might be preserved in his liberty and estate. Thirdly, that this aid must be speedy, least he might be swallowed up in the mean time, and so come too late."
“ According to the counsel and determination aforesaid, the commissioners, considering the present danger of Uncas the Mohegan sachem, (his fort having been divers times assaulted by a great army of the Narrohiggansets, &c.) agreed to have 40 soldiers sent with all expedition for his defense.” Lieut. Atherton and Sergeant John Davis led this company, conducted by two of “ Cutchamakin's" Indians as guides. Atherton was ordered not to make an attempt upon the town otherwise than in Uncas' defence.” Capt. Mason of Connecticut was to join him, and take the chief command. Forty men were ordered also from Connecticut, and 30 from New Haven under Lieut. Sealy. In their instructions to Mason, the commissioners say, “ We so now aim at the protection of the Mohegans, that we would have no opportunity neglected to weaken the Narragansets and their confederates, in their number of men, their cane canoes, wigwams, wampum and goods. We look upon the Nianticks as the chief incendiaries and causes of the war, and should be glad they might first feel the smart of it.” The Nianticks, therefore, were particularly to be had in view by Mason, and he was informed at the same time that Massachusetts and Plimouth were forthwith to send “another army to invade the Narragansets."
The commissioners now proceeded to make choice of a commander in chief of the two armies. Maj. Edward Gibbons was unanimously elected. In his instructions is this passage: "Whereas the scope and cause of this expedition is not only to aid the Mohegans, but to offend the Narragansets, Nianticks, and other their confederates.". He was directed also to conclude a peace with them, if they desired it, provided it were made with special reference to damages, &c. And they say, " But withal, according to our engagements, you are to provide for Uncas' future safety, that his plantations be not invaded, that his men and squaws may attend their planting and fishing and other occasions without fear or injury, and Vesamequine, Pomham, Sokakonoco, Cutchamakin, and other Indians, friends or subjects to the English, be not molested,” &c.
Soon after the death of Miantunnomoh, which was in September, 1643, his brother Pessacus, “the new sachem of Narraganset," then “a young man about 20," sent to Governor Winthrop of Massachusetts, as a present, an otter coat, a girdle of wampum, and some of that article besides, in value about £15. The messenger, named Washose,* also a sachem, told the governor that his chief desired to continue in peace with the English; but that he was about to make war upon Uncas, to avenge the death of his brother, and hoped they would not interfere, nor aid Uncas. The governor said they wished to be at peace with all Indians, and that all Îndians would be at peace among themselves, and that they must agree to this, or they could not accept their present. Washose said he was instructed no further than to make known his mission and leave the present, which he did, and returned to his own country. This was in Feb. 1644, N. S. Within the same month, the sarne messenger appeared again at Boston; and “his errand was, (says Gov. Winthrop,) that, seeing they, at our request, had set still this year, that now this next year we would grant their request, and suffer them to fight with Onkus, with many arguments.” But he was answered, that the English would not allow such a proceeding, and if they persisted, all the English would fall upon them.
Planting time, and 30 days besides, had passed before the English sent an army to invade the Narragansets. Pessacus and the other chiefs had done all they could do to cause the English to remain neutral, but now determined to wait no longer, and hostile acts were committed on both sides.
The traditionary account of Uncas's being besieged in his fort by the Narragansets will very properly be looked for in this connection, as it has not only adorned many tales of the Indians, but has been seriously urged as truth in more imposing forms. What we are about to give is contained in a letter, dated at New Haven, 19 Sept. 1796, by Wm. Leffingwell, and directed Dr. Trumbull.
“At the time the Mohegan tribe of Indians were besieged by the Narraganset tribe, in a fort near the River Thames, between Norwich and New London, the provisions of the besieged being nearly exhausted, Uncas, their sachem, found means to inform the settlers at Saybrook of their distress, and the danger they would be in froin the Narragansets, if the Mohegan tribe were cut off. Ensign Thomas Lefsingwell, one of the first settlers there, loaded a canoe with beef, corn and peas, and in the night tiine paddled from Saybrook into the Thames, and had the address to get the whole into the fort of the besieged ;-received a deed from Uncas of the town of Norwich, and made his escape
night. In consequence of which, the besiegers, finding Uncas had procured relie., raised the siege, and the Mohegan tribe were saved, and have ever proved strict friends to the N. England settlers.”+
* Perhaps the same as Awashers.
The above agrees very well with Mr. Hyde's account. " When Uncas and tribe were attacked by a potent enerny, and blocked up in their fort on a hill, by the side of the great river, and almost starved to death, Lieut.
Thos. Lefingwell, Capt. Benj. Brewster, of said Norwich, and others, secretly carried their provision, in the night seasons, upon which the enemy raised the siege."**
In consideration of which, “ Uncas gave sundry donations of land,” &c.t
At the congress of the commissioners at Boston, in 1645, above mentioned, it was ascertained that the present from Pessacus still remained among them, and therefore he might think it was probable that the English had complied with their desires, as they had not returned it. Lest this should be so understood, Capt. Harding, Mr. Welborne and Benedict Arnold were ordered and commissioned to repair to the Narraganset
it: “ This tradition, from a highly respectable source, Trumbull states as history; yet, in some minor points, at least, it would seem obvious that the tradition could not have been strictly preserved for 150 years.” MS. letter.
* Some very beautiful verses appeared several years since in the Connecticut Mirror, to which it seems the above had given rise. They were prefaced with the following among other observations : “ In the neighborhood of Mohegan is a rude reçess, environed by rocks, which still retains the name of the chair of Uncas,'” and that the people of Uncas were perishing with hunger when Leffingwell brought him relief. We give the following stanzas from it :
" The monarch sat on his rocky throne,
Before him the waters lay;
And their spears of the bracken gray.
“ His lamps were the fickle stars, that beamed
Through the veil of their midnight shroud,
'Neath their canopy of cloud,” &c.
“ Behind him his leaguered forces lay
Withering in famine’s blight,
And quench a nation's light.
“ It comes! it comes that misty speck
Which over the waters moves!
Than the maid to him who loves," &c.
“ The eye of the king with that rapture blazed
Which the soul in its rapture sends ;
As toward his fort he wends.
" That king hath gone to his lowly grave!
His people have passed away," + MS. letter to Dr. Trumbull before cited and life of Miantunnomoh.
country, and to see, if possible, “ Piscus, Canownacus, Janemo," and other sáchems, and to return the present before mentioned, and to inform them that the English were well aware of their beginning and prosecuting a war upon Uncas, and their “having wounded and slain divers of his men, seized many of his canoes, taken some prisoners, spoiled much of his corn,” refused to treat with him, and threatened the English. Nevertheless, if they would come themselves forthwith to Boston, they should be heard and protected in their journey, but that none except themselves would be treated with, and if they refused to come, the English were prepared for war, and would proceed immediately against them.
Harding and Welborne proceeded to providence, where Arnold was to join them.
But he was not there, and they were informed that he dared not venture among the Narragansets. Whether he had been acting the traitor with them, or something quite as much to merit condemnation, we will leave the reader to judge from the relation. The two former, therefore, made use of Rev. Mr. Williams as interpreter in their business, but were reprimanded by the commissioners for it on their return.
On going to the Narraganset sachems, and opening their business, it appeared that all they were ordered to charge them with was not true; or, at least, denied by them. These charges, it appears, had been preferred by Arnold, and sworn to upon oath. The chiefs said '“ that Ianemo, the Nyantick sachem, had been ill divers days, but had now sent six men to present his respects to the English, and to declare his assent and submis sion to what the Narrohiggenset sachems and the English should agree upon.”
It was in the end agreed, that the chiefs, Pessacus, Mexam, and divers others, should proceed to Boston, agreeably to the desire of the English, which they did, in company with Harding and Welborne, who brought back the old present, and for which they also received the censure of the congress. They arrived at Boston just as the second levy of troops were marching out for their country, and thus the expedition was stayed until the result of a treaty should be made known.
It appeared, on a conference with the commissioners, that the sachems did not fully understand the nature of all the charges against them before leaving their country, and in justice to them it should be observed, that, so far as the record goes, their case appears to us the easiest to be defended of the three parties concerned. They told the commissioners of sundry charges they had against Uncas, but they said they could not hear them, for Uncas was not there to speak for himself; and that they had hindered his being notified of their coming. As to a breach of covenant, they maintained, for some time, that they had committed none, and that their treatment of the English had been misrepresented. But, (says our record,) after a long debate and some priuate conferrence, they had with Serjeant Cullicutt, they acknowledged they had brooken promise or coue nant in the afore menconed warrs, and offerred to make another truce with Vncas, either till next planting tyme, as they had done last yeare at Hartford, or for a yeare, or a yeare and a quarter.”
They had been induced to make this admission, no doubt, by the persuasion of Cullicut, who, probably, was instructed to inform them that the safety of their country depended upon their compliance with the wishes of the English at this time. An army of soldiers was at that moment parading the streets, in all the pomposity of a modern training, which must have reminded them of the horrible destruction of their kindred at Mystic eight years before.
The proposition of a truce being objected to by the English, “one of the sachems offered a stick or a wand to the commissioners, expressing himself, that therewith they put the power and disposition of the war into