Page images

“1. In that he” had neglected to bring in his arms, although“ competent time, yea his time enlarged” to do it in, as before stated.

“ 2. That he had carried insolently and proudly towards us on several occasions, in refusing to come down to our court (when sent for) to have speech with him, to procure a right understanding of matters in difference betwixt us.

This, to say the least, was a wretchedly sorry complaint. That an independent chief should refuse to obey his neighbors whenever they had a mind to command him, of the justness of whose mandates he was not to inquire, surely calls for no comment of ours. Besides, did Philip not do as he agreed at Taunton ?-which was, that in case of future troubles, both parties should lay their complaints before Massachusetts, and abide by their decision ?

The 3d charge is only a repetition of what was stated by the council of war, namely, harboring and abetting divers Indians not his own men, but “vagabonds, our professed enemies, who leaving their own sachem were harbored by him.”

The 4th has likewise been stated, which contains the complaint of his going to Massachusetts, “ with several of his council

, endeavoring to insinuate himself into the magistrates, and to misrepresent matters unto them,” which amounts to little else but an accusation against Massachusetts, as, from what has been before stated, it seems that the “gentlemen in place there" had, at least in part, been convinced that Philip was not so much in fault as their friends of Plimouth had pretended.*

65. That he had shewed great incivility to divers of ours at several times; in special unto Mr. James Brown, who was sent by the court on special occasion, as a messenger unto him; and unto Hugh Cole at another time, &c.

“The gentlemen forenamed taking notice of the premises, having fully heard what the said Phillip could say for himself, having free liberty so to do without interruption, adjudged that he had done us a great deal of wrong and injury, (respecting the premises,) and also abused them by carrying lies and false stories to them, and so misrepresenting matters unto them; and they persuaded him to make an acknowledgment of his fault, and to seek for reconciliation, expressing themselves, that there is a great difference between what he asserted to the government in the Bay, and what he could now make out concerning his pretended wrongs; and such had been the wrong and damage that he had done and procured unto the colony, as ought not to be borne without competent reparation and satisfaction ; yea, that he, by his insolencies, had (in probability) occasioned more mischief from the Indians amongst them, than had fallen out in many years before; they persuaded him, therefore, to humble himself unto the magistrates, and to amend his ways, if he expected peace; and that, if he went on in his refractory way, he must expect to smart for it."

The commissioners finally drew up the treaty of which we have before spoken, and Philip and his counsellors subscribed it; and thus ended the chief events of 1671.

Whether it were before this time, or between it and the war, that what we are about to relate took place, is not certain, but it probably belongs to the latter period. It is this :-The governor of Massachusetts sent an ambassador to Philip, to demand of him why he would make war upon

* Not a very high compliment to the authorities of Massachusetts ; for it appears, if this were the case, Philip had succeeded in deceiving them in matters of which certainly they might have been correctly informed, as we should rather apprehend they were; having been present at Taunton, and heard both sides of the story afterwards.

the English, and requested him, at the same time, to enter into a treaty. The sachem made him this answer :

Your governor is but a subject of King Charles* of England. I shall not treat with a subject. I shall treat of peace only with the king, my brother. When he comes, I am ready.”+

This is literal, although we have changed the order of the words a little, and is worthy of a place upon the same page with the speech of the famous Porus, when taken captive by Alexander.f

We meet with nothing of importance until the death of Sassamon, in 1674, the occasion of which was charged upon Philip, and was the cause of bringing about the war with him a year sooner than he had expected. This event prematurely discovered his intentions, which occasioned the partial recantation of the Narragansets, who, it is reported, were to furnish 4000 men, to be ready to fall upon the English in 1676. Concert, therefore, was wanting ; and although nearly all the Narragansets ultimately joined against the English, yet the powerful effect of a general simultaneous movement was to the Indians. Philip's own people, many of whom were so disconcerted at the unexpected beginning of the war, continued some time to waver, doubting which side to show themselves in favor of; and it was only from their being without the vicinity of the English, or unprotected by them, that determined their course, which was, in almost all cases, in favor of Philip. Even the Praying Indians, had they been left to themselves, would, no doubt, many of them, have declared in his favor also, as many really did.

Until the execution of the three Indians, supposed to be the murderers of Sassamon, no hostility was committed by Philip or his warriors. About the time of their trial, he was said to be marching his men “up and down the country in arins,” but when it was known that they were executed, he could no longer restrain his young men, who, upon the 24th of June, provoked the people of Swansey, by killing their cattle, and other injuries, until they were fired upon, which was a signal to commence the war, and what they had desired; for the superstitious notion prevailed among the Indians, that the party who fired the first gun would be conquered.|| They had probably been made to believe this by the English themselves.

It was upon a fast day that this great drama was opened. As the peo

* Charles II. whose reign was from 1660 to 1676. † Present State of N. Eng. 68. The conqueror asked him how he would be treated, who, in two words, replied, “Like a king”. Being asked if he had no other request to make, he said, “ No. Every thing is comprehended in that.” (Plutarch's Life of Alexander.) We could wish, in many cases, that the English conquerors had acted with as much magnanimity towards the Indians, as Alexander did towards those he overcame. Porus was treated as he had desired.

D“ In the mean time King Philip mustered up about 500 of his men, and arms them compleat; and had gotten about 8 or 900 of his neighboring Indians, and likewise arms them compleat; (i. e. guns, powder and bullets ;) but how many he hath engaged to be of his party, is unknown to any among us. The last spring, several Indiuns were seen in small parties, about Rehoboth and Swansey, which not a little affrighted the inhabitants. Who demanding the reason of them, wherefore it was so ? Answer was made, That they were only on their own defence, for they understood that the English intended to cut them off. About the 20th of June last, seven or eight of King Philips men came to Swansey on the Lord's day, and would grind a hatchet at an inbabitant's house there; the master told them, it was the sabbath day, and their God would be very angry if he should let them do it. They returned this answer : They knew not who his God was, and that they would do it, for all him, or his God From thence they went to another house, and took away some victuals, bul hurt no man. Immediately they met a man travelling on the road, kept him custody a short time, then dismist him quietly; giving him ihis caution, that he should not work on his God's day, and that he should tell no lies.” Present State of N. Eng. p. 8 and 9 of the new edition.

I Callendar.

[ocr errors]

ple were returning from meeting, they were fired upon by the Indians, when one was killed and two wounded. Two others, going for a surgeon, were killed on their way. In another part of the town, six others were killed the same day. Swansey was the next town to Philip's country, and his men were as well acquainted with all the walks of the English as they were themselves.

It is not supposed that Philip directed this attack, but, on the other hand, it has been said that it was against his wishes. But there can be no doubt of his hostility and great desire to rid his country of the white intruders; for had he not reason to say,

“Exarsere ignes animo; subit ira, cadentem

Ulcisci patriam, et sceleratas sumere poenas” ? The die was cast. No other alternative appeared, but to ravage, burn and destroy as fast as was in his power. There had been no war for a long time, either among themselves or with the English, and, therefore, numerous young warriors from the neighboring tribes, entered into his cause with great ardor; eager to perforın exploits, such as had been recounted to them by their sires, and such as they had long waited an opportunity to achieve. The time, they conceived, had now arrived, and their souls expanded in proportion to the greatness of the undertaking. To conquer the English! to lead captive their haughty lords! must have been to them thoughts of vast magnitude, and exhilarating in the highest degree.

Town after town fell before them, and when the English forces marched in one direction, they were burning and laying waste in another. A part of Taunton, Middleborough and Dartmouth, in the vicinity of Pocasset, upon Narraganset Bay, soon followed the destruction of Swansey, which was burnt immediately after the 24th of June, on being abandoned by the inhabitants.

Philip commanded in person upon Pocasset, where, upon the 18th of July, he was discovered in a

He had retired to this place, which is adjacent to Taunton River, with the most of his Wampanoags, and such others as had joined him, to avoid falling in with the English army, which was now pursuing him. From their numbers, the English were nearly able to encompass the swamp, and the fate of Philip they now thought sealed. On arriving at its edge, a few of Philips warriors showed themselves, and the English rushed in upon them with ardor, and by this feint were drawn far into an ambush, and “about 15 were slain.” The leaves upon the trees were so thick, and the hour of the day so late, that a friend could not be distinguished from a foe, “whereby 'tis verily feared, that [the English themselves] did sometimes unhappily shoot Englishmen instead of Indians."* A retreat was now ordered, and, considering Philip's escape impossible, the most of the forces left the place, a few only remaining, “to starve out the enemy." That Philip's fórce was great at this time is certain, from the fact that a hundred wigwams were found near the edge of the swamp, newly constructed of green bark. In one of those the English found an old man, who informed them that Philip was there.

He lost but few men in the encounter, though it is said, that he had a brother killed at this time.t

The idle notion of building a fort here to starve out Philip, was sufficiently censured by the historians of that day. For, as Capt. Church

“ dismal swamp:

[ocr errors]

* Mather's Brief Hist. War, 5. t This is upon the authority of the anonymous author of the Present State," &c. of which we shall elsewhere have occasion to take notice.

expresses it, to build a fort for nothing to cover the people from nobody,* was rather a ridiculous idea. This observation he made upon a fort's being built upon Mount Hope neck, some time after every Indian had left that side of the country, and who, in fact, were laying waste the towns before mentioned.

The swamp where Philip was now confined, was upon a piece of country which projected into Taunton River, and was nearly seven miles in extent. After being guarded here 13 days, which, in the end, was greatly to his advantage, and afforded him sufficient time to provide canoes in which to make his escape, he passed the river with most of his men, and made good his retreat into the country upon Connecticut River. In effecting this retreat, an accident happened which deprived him of some of his choicest and bravest captains, as we shall proceed to relate.

About the 26 July, 1675, Oneko, with two of his brothers, and about 50 men, came to Boston, by direction of Uncas, and declared their desire to assist the English against the Wampanoags. A few English and three Naticks were added to their company, and immediately despatched, by way of Plimouth, to the enemy's country. This circuitous route was taken, perhaps, that they might have their instructions immediately from the governor of that colony; Massachusetts, at that time, probably, supposing the war might be ended without their direct interference. This measure, as it proved, was very detrimental to the end in view; for if they had proceeded directly to Seekonk, they would have been there in season to have met Philip and his warriors in their flight from Pocasset. And this force, being joined with the other English forces, then in the vicinity, in all probability might have finished the war by a single fight with him. At least, his chance of escape would have been small, as be had to cross a large extent of clear and open country, where they must have been cut down in flight, or fought man to man. Whereas Oneko was encamped at some distance, having arrived late the night before, and some time was lost in rallying. They overtook them, however, about 10 o'clock in the morning of the 1st of August, and a smart fight ensued. Philip having brought his best men into the rear, many of them were slain; among these was Nimrod, alias Woonashum, a great captain and counsellor, who had signed the treaty at Taunton, four years before.

From what cause the fight was suspended is unknown, though it would seem from some relations, that it was owing to Oneko's men, who, seeing themselves in possession of considerable plunder, fell to loading themselves with it, and thus gave Philip time to escape. From this view of the case, it would appear that the Mohegans were the chief actors in the offensive. It is said that the Naticks urged immediate and further pursuit, which did not take place, in consequence of the extreme heat of the weather: and thus the main body were permitted to escape.

Mr. Newman, of Rehoboth, gave an account of the affair in a letter, in which he said that “14 of the enemy's principal men were slain.” He also mentioned, in terms of great respect, the Naticks and Mohegans under Oneko.

Having now taken a position to annoy the back settlements of Massachusetts, his warriors fell vigorously to the work; one town after another,


Hist. Philip's War, p. 6. ed. 4to. † They were conducted by Quarter-master Swift, and a company of horse. The governor of Plimouth, understanding the route taken by these forces to be by way of Plimouth, immediately ordered them to Rehoboth, otherwise nothing would have been effected at this time against Philip. | Gookin's MS. Hist. Praying Indians.

Gookin, ibid. Oneko was the oldest son and successor of Uncas, and, like his father, was opposed to Christianity.

and one company of soldiers after another, were swept off by them. A garrison being established at Northfield, Capt. Richard Beers, of Watertown,* with 36 men, was attacked while on their way to reinforce them, and 20 of the 36 were killed. Robert Pepper, of Roxbury, was taken captive, and the others effected their escape. Philip's men had the advantage of attacking them in a place of their own choosing, and their first fire was very destructive. Beers retreated with his men to a small eminence, and maintained the unequal fight until their ammunition was spent, at which time a cart containing ammunition fell into the hands of the Indians, and, the captain being killed, all who were able

took to flight. The bill to which the English fled, at the beginning of the fight, was known afterwards by the name of Beers's Mountain.

Some time in the month of August, “King Philip's men had taken a young lad alive, about 14 years old, and bound him to a tree two nights and two days, intending to be merry with him the next day, and that they would roast him alive to make sport with him; but God, over night, touched the heart of one Indian, so that he came and loosed him, and bid him run granıle, (i. e. run apace,) and by that means he escaped.”+

About this time, some English found a single Indian, an old man, near Quabaog, whom they captured. As he would not give them any information respecting his countrymen, or, perhaps, such as they desired, they pronounced him worthy of death; so they laid him down, Cornelius, the Dutchman, lifting up his sword to cut off his head, the Indian lifted up his hand between, so that his hand was first cut off, and partly his head, and the second blow finished the execution.”I

It was about this time, as the author of the “ PRESENT STATE” relates, that “ King Philip, now beginning to want money, having a coat made all of wampampeag, (i. e. Indian money,) cuts his coat to pieces and distributes it plentifully among the Nipmoog sachems and others, as well as to the eastward as southward and all round about."'S

On the 18 Sept. Captain Lothrop, of Beverly, was sent from Hadley with about 88 men, to bring away the corn, grain, and other valuable articles, from Deerfield. Having loaded their teams and commenced their march homeward, they were attacked at a place called Sugarloaf Hill, where almost every man was slain. This company consisted of choice young men, the flower of Essex county.|| Eighteen of the men belonged to Deerfield. I Capt. Mosely, being not far off, upon a scout, was drawn to the scene of action by the report of the guns, and, having with him 70 men, charged the Indians with great resolution, although he computed their numbers at a 1000. He had two of his men killed and eleven wounded. The Indians dared him to begin the fight, and exultingly said to him, “ Come, Mosely, come, you seek Indians, you want Indians ; here is Indians enough for you.

"** After continuing a fight with them, from eleven o'clock until almost night, he was obliged to retreat. The Indians cut open the bags of wheat and the feather-beds, and scattered their contents to the winds.** After Mosely had commenced a retreat, Major Treat, with 100 English and 60 Mohegans, came to his assistance. Their united forces obliged the Indians to retreat in their turn.ft The Indians were said

Manuscript documents.

Pres. State of N. Eng. &c. 12. # Manuscript in library of Mass. Hist. Soc. ♡ Pres. State, 13. If this were the case, Philip must have had an iminense big coatyea, even bigger than Dr. Johnson's great coat, as represented by Boswell; the side pockets of which, he said, were large enough each to contain one of the huge volumes of his folio dictionary ! || Hluhbard's Narrative.

| These were the teamsters. ** Manuscript letter, written at the time. HI. Mather's History of the War.

« PreviousContinue »