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of New England's history. The Indian was a very real influence upon the mind and morals as well as upon the institutions of frontier New England. The occasional instances of Puritans returning from captivity to visit the frontier towns, Catholic in religion, painted and garbed as Indians and speaking the Indian tongue,' and the halfbreed children of captive Puritan mothers, tell a sensational part of the story; but in the normal, as well as in such exceptional relations of the frontier townsmen to the Indians, there are clear evidences of the transforming influence of the Indian frontier upon the Puritan type of English colonist.
In 1703-4, for example, the General Court of Massachusetts ordered five hundred pairs of snowshoes and an equal number of moccasins for use in specified counties “lying Frontier next to the Wilderness.” 2 Connecticut in 1704 after referring to her frontier towns and garrisons ordered that "said company of English and Indians shall, from time to time at the discretion of their chief comander, range the woods to indevour the discovery of an approaching enemy, and in especiall manner from Westfield to Ousatunnuck. . . . And for the incouragement of our forces gone or going against the enemy, this Court will allow out of the publick treasurie the sume of five pounds for every mans scalp of the enemy killed in this Colonie.” 4 Massachusetts offered bounties for scalps, increasing in amount according to whether the scalp was of men, or women and youths, and whether it was taken by regular forces under pay, volunteers in service, or volunteers without pay.5 One of the most striking phases of frontier adjustment, was the proposal of the Rev. Solomon Stoddard of Northampton in the fall of 1703, urging the use of dogs “to hunt Indians as they do Bears." The argument was that the dogs would catch many an Indian who would be too light of foot for the townsmen, nor was it to be thought of as inhuman; for the Indians "act
1 Hutchinson, History (1795), ii. 129 note, relates such a case of a Groton man; see also Parkman, Half-Century, vol. i. ch. iv, citing Maurault, Histoire des Abenakis, p. 377.
? Massachusetts Archives, lxxi. 4, 84, 85, 87, 88.
6 Massachusetts Colony Records, v. 72; Massachusetts Province Laws, i. 176, 211, 292, 558, 594, 600; Massachusetts Archives, lxxi. 7, 89, 102. Cf. Publications of this Society, vii. 275-278.
like wolves and are to be dealt with as wolves." 1 In fact Massachusetts passed an act in 1706 for the raising and increasing of dogs for the better security of the frontiers, and both Massachusetts and Connecticut in 1708 paid money from their treasury for the trailing of dogs.
Thus we come to familiar ground: the Massachusetts frontiersman like his western successor hated the Indians; the "tawney serpents," of Cotton Mather's phrase, were to be hunted down and scalped in accord with law and, in at least one instance by the chaplain himself, a Harvard graduate, the hero of the Ballad of Pigwacket, who
many Indians slew, And some of them he scalp'd when bullets round him flew. Within the area bounded by the frontier line, were the broken fragments of Indians defeated in the era of King Philip's War, restrained within reservations, drunken and degenerate survivors, among whom the missionaries worked with small results, a vexation to the border towns, as they were in the case of later frontiers. Although, as has been said, the frontier towns had scattered garrison houses, and palisaded enclosures similar to the neighborhood forts, or stations, of Kentucky in the Revolution, and of Indiana and Illinois in the War of 1812, one difference is particularly noteworthy. In the case of the frontiersmen who came down from Pennsylvania into the upland south along the eastern edge of the Alleghanies, as well as in the more obvious case of the backwoodsmen of Kentucky and Tennessee, the frontier towns were too isolated from the main settled regions to allow much military protection by the older areas. On the New England frontier, because it was adjacent to the coast towns, this was not the case, and here, as in seventeenth century Virginia, great activity in protecting the frontier was evinced by the colonial authorities, and the frontier towns themselves called
1 Sheldon, Deerfield, i. 290.
Farmer and Moore, Collections, iii. 64–66. The frontier woman of the farther west found no more extreme representative than Hannah Dustin of Haverhill, with her trophy of ten scalps, for which she received a bounty of £50 (Parkman, Frontenac, 1898, p. 407 note).
For illustrations of resentment against those who protected the Christian Indians, see F. W. Gookin, Daniel Gookin, pp. 145–155.
loudly for assistance. This phase of frontier defence needs a special study, but at present it is sufficient to recall that the colony sent garrisons to the frontier besides using the militia of the frontier towns; and that it employed rangers to patrol from garrison to garrison. These were prototypes of the regular army post, and the rangers, dragoons, cavalry and mounted police who have carried the remoter military frontier forward. It is possible to trace this military cordon from New England to the Carolinas early in the eighteenth century, still neighboring the coast; by 1840 it ran from Fort Şnelling on the upper Mississippi through various posts to the Sabine boundary of Texas, and so it passed forward until to-day it lies at the edge of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean.
A few examples of frontier appeals for garrison aid will help to an understanding of the early form of the military frontier. Wells asks, June 30, 1689: 1 That yo? Hon's will please to send us speedily twenty Eight good
brisk men that may be serviceable as a guard to us whilest we get in our Harvest of Hay & Corn, (we being unable to Defend ourselves & to Do our work), & also to Persue & destroy the Enemy as occasion
may require 2 That these men may be compleatly furnished with Arms, Amunition
& Provision, and that upon the Countrys account, it being a Generall War.2
Dunstable, “still weak and unable both to keep our Garrisons and to send out men to get hay for our Cattle; without doeing which wee cannot subsist,” petitioned July 23, 1689, for twenty footmen for a month “ to scout about the towne while wee get our hay.” Otherwise, they say, they must be forced to leave. Still more indicative of this temper is the petition of Lancaster, March 11,1675-6, to the Governor and Council: “As God has made you father over us so you will have a father's pity to us." They asked a guard of men and aid, without which they must leave. Deerfield pled in 1678 to the General Court,
1 For example, Massachusetts Archives, lxx. 261; Bailey, Andover, p. 179; Metcalf, Annals of Mendon, p. 63; Proceedings Massachusetts Historical Society, xliii. 504-519. Parkman, Frontenac (Boston, 1898), p. 390, and Half-Century of Conflict (Boston, 1898), i. 55, sketches the frontier defence.
· Massachusetts Archives, cvii. 155.
“unlest you will be pleased to take us (out of your fatherlike pitty) and Cherish us in yor Bosomes we are like Suddainly to breathe out of Last Breath.” 1
The perils of the time, the hardships of the frontier towns and readiness of this particular frontier to ask appropriations for losses and wounds,” are abundantly illustrated in similar petitions from other towns. One is tempted at times to attribute the very frank self-pity and dependent attitude to a minister's phrasing, and to the desire to secure remission of taxes, the latter a frontier trait more often associated with riot than with religion in other regions.
As an example of various petitions the following from Groton in 1704 is suggestive. Here the minister's hand is probably absent:
1 That wharas by the all dessposing hand of god who orders all things in infinit wisdom it is our portion to liue In such a part of the land which by reson of the enemy Is becom vary dangras as by wofull experiants we haue falt both formarly and of late to our grat damidg & discoridgment and espashaly this last yere hauing lost so many parsons som killed som captauated and som remoued and allso much corn & cattell and horses & hay wharby wee ar gratly Impouerrished and brought uary low & in a uary pore capasity to subsist any longer As the barers her of can inform your honors
2 And more then all this our paster mr hobard is & hath been for aboue a yere uncapable of desspansing the ordinances of god amongst us & we haue advised with th Raurant Elders of our nayboring churches and they aduise to hyare another minister and to saport mr hobard and to make our adras to your honours (we haue but litel laft to pay our deus with being so pore and few In numbr ather to town or cuntrey & we being a frantere town & lyable to dangor there being no safty in going out nor coming in but for a long time we haue got our brad with the parel of our liues & allso broght uery low by so grat a charg of bilding garisons & fortefycations by ordur of athorety & thar is saural of our Inhabitants ramoued out of town &others ar prouiding to remoue. axcapt somthing be don for our Incoridgment for we are so few & so por that we canot pay two ministors nathar ar we wiling to liue without any we spand so much time in waching and warding that we can doe but litel els & truly we haue liued allmost 2 yers more like soulders then other wise & accapt your honars can find out some bater way for our safty
1 Sheldon, Deerfield, i. 189.
and support we cannot uphold as a town ather by remitting our tax or tow alow pay for building the sauarall forts alowed and ordred by athority or alls to alow the one half of our own Inhabitants to be under pay or to grant liberty for our remufe Into our naiburing towns to tak cer for oursalfs all which if your honors shall se meet to grant you will hereby gratly incoridg your humble pateceners to conflect with th many trubls we are ensadant unto."
Forced together into houses for protection, getting in their crops at the peril of their lives, the frontier townsmen felt it a hardship to contribute also to the taxes of the province while they helped to protect the exposed frontier. In addition there were grievances of absentee proprietors who paid no town taxes and yet profited by the exertions of the frontiersmen; of that I shall speak later.
If we were to trust to these petitions asking favors from the government of the colony, we might impute to the early frontiersmen a degree of submission to authority unlike that of other frontiersmen, and indeed not wholly warranted by the facts. Reading carefully,
1 Massachusetts Archives, lxxi. 107: cf. Metcalf, Mendon, p. 130; Sheldon, Deerfield, i. 288. The frontier of Virginia in 1755 and 1774 showed similar conditions: see, for example, the citations to Washington's Writings in Thwaites, France in America, pp. 193–195; and frontier letters in Thwaites and Kellogg, Dunmore's War, pp. 227, 228 et passim. The following petition to Governor Gooch of Virginia, dated July 30, 1742, affords a basis for comparison with a Scotch-Irish frontier:
We your pittionours humbly sheweth that we your Honours Loly and Dutifull Subganckes hath ventred our Lives & all that we have In settling ye back parts of Virginia which was a veri Great Hassirt & Dengrous, for it is the Hathins [heathens) Road to ware, which has proved hortfull to severil of ous that were ye first settlers of these back woods & wee your Honibill pittionors some time a goo pittioned your Honnour for to have Commisioned men amungst ous which we your Honnours most Duttifull subjects thought properist men & men that had Hart and Curidg to hed us yn time of (war) & to defend your Contray & your poor Sogbacks Intrist from ye voilince of ye Haithen — But yet agine we Humbly persume to poot your Honnour yn mind of our Great want of them in hopes that your Honner will Grant a Captins' Commission to John McDowell, with follring ofishers, and your Honnours' Complyence in this will be Great settisfiction to your most Duttifull and Humbil pittioners — and we as in Duty bond shall Ever pray ... (Calendar of Virginia State Papers, i. 235).
? But there is a note of deference in southern frontier petitions to the Continental Congress — to be discounted, however, by the remoteness of that body. See F. J. Turner, Western State-Making in the Revolutionary Era (American Historical Review, i. 70, 251). The demand for remission of taxes is a common feature of the petitions there quoted.