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as the sachems were frequently entitled by the early writers --must have been MASSASOIT, so well known afterwards to the Plymouth set. tlers; and probably the second was his brother Quadepinah. The “native country” of Squanto was the vicinity of Plymouth, where the Indians are understood to have been kidnapped. Thousands of them there, as well as elsewhere along the whole coast of New England, had been swept off by a terrible pestilence.
The first appearance of Massasoit, after the settlement of Plymouth, was upon the 22d of March, 1621, a week previous to which some information concerning him had been gathered from an Indian named Samoset, who entered the village with great boldness, and greeted the inhabitants with a “ welcome." On the second occasion, he came in with four others,—having engaged to introduce sɔme of the Wampa. noags, to traffic in furs-among whom was Squanto, at the time probably the sole remaining native of Plymouth. This party brought a few fish and skins to sell, and informed the English that the great sachem, with his brother and his whole force, were near at hand. Massasoit soon appeared upon the neighboring hill, with sixty men. As they seemed unwilling to approach nearer, Squanto was despatched to ascertain their designs; and they gave him to understand that they wished some one should be sent to hold a parley.
Edward Winslow was appointed to this office, and he immediately carried presents to the sachem, which were willingly accepted. He addressed him also in a speech of some length, which the Indians listened to with the decorous gravity characteristic of the race, illexplained as it was by the interpreter. The purport of the speech was, that King James saluted the sachem, his brother, with the words of peace and love; that he accepted him as his friend and ally; and that the Governor desired to see him, and to trade and treat with him upon friendly terms. Massasait appears to have made no special reply to this harangue, for the sufficient reason, probably, that he did not precisely comprehend the drift of it. He paid more attention to the sword and armor of Winslow while he spoke; and when he had ceased speaking, signified his disposition to commence the proposed trade forthwith by buying them. They were not, however, for sale; and so, leaving Winslow in the custody of his brother, he crossed a brook between him and the English, taking with him twenty of the Wampanoags, who were directed to leave their bows and arrows behind them. Be. yond the brook he was met by Captain Standish and another gentleman, with an escort of six armed men, who exchanged salutations with him, and attended him to one of the best houses in the village.* Here, a green rug was spread upon the floor, and three or four cushions piled on it for his accommodation. The Governor then entered the house, followed by several soldiers, and preceded by a flourish of a drum and trumpet,-a measure probably recommended by Standish, and which answered the purpose of delighting and astounding the
* A stone arch has in modern times been thrown over this brook, to point out the precise spot of the meeting. The hill where the chieftain first appeared was, by the settlers of his time, called “Strawberry-Hill.”
Wampanoags, even beyond expectation. It was a deference paid to their sovereign, which pleased as well as surprised them. The sachem and the Governor now kissed each other, and after the interchange of certain other civilities, sat down together, and regaled themselves with what Neal calls an entertainment. It consisted, it seems, chiefly of “strong waters, a thing the savages love very well; and the sachem took suck a large draught of it at once, as made him sweat all the while he staid." A treaty was concluded upon this occasion, the terms of which are as follows:
1. That neither he, nor any of his (Massasoit's) should injure or do hurt to any of their people.
2. That if any of his did any hurt to any of theirs, he should send the offender, that they might punish him.
3. That if any thing were taken away from any of theirs, he should cause it to be restored, and they should do the like to his.
4. That if any did unjustly war against him, they would aid him; and if any did war against them, he should aid them.
5. That he should send to his neighbor confederates, to inform them of this, that they might not wrong them, but might be likewise comprised in these conditions of peace.
6. That when his came to them upon any occasion, they should leave their arms behind them.
7. That so doing, their sovereign lord, King James, would esteem him as his friend and ally.
“All which,” says Morton,—and some other annalists agree with him," he liked very well, and withal, at the same time acknowledged himself content to become the subject of our sovereign lord the King aforesaid, his heirs and successors; and gave unto him all the lands adjacent, to him and to his heirs forever.” This acknowledgment of the sovereignty of the King, if it really make a part of the agreement, certainly deserved a place as a distinct article; being by far more im portant than all the others. The grant of land,--and this grant constituted the entire title of the Plymouth settlers, as against the natives, -is confirmed by subsequent transactions, and especially by the acts of Massasoit. But his submission to the authority of King James, as a subject to a sovereign, is more doubtsul, nor does it by any means accord with the seventh express article. That the treaty itself also was not preserved precisely as it was probably understood, may be inferred from the variations of it given by Mourt in his relation. AGcording to his sixth article, for example, a just reciprocity is maintained, by providing that the English should, leave their pieces behind them in their interviews with the Indians. This distinction between alliance and subjection,—at least in the mind of one of the parties,—seems to have been too much overlooked.
Such, however, was the first treaty made with the Indians of New England,-a passage in its history of great interest. It was made upon peaceable and honorable terms. The Indians came in voluntarily to make it; and though they received as a consideration for the im mense territory granted at the time, only a pair of knives, and a copper chain with a jewel in it for the grand sachem; and a knife, a jewel to hang in his ear, a pot of strong water, a good quantity of biscuit, and some butter for Quadepinah,-yet were all parties satisfied with the substance as they were gratified by the ceremonies of the agreement. It is pleasing to learn from history, that this simple negotiation was remembered and adhered to on both sides for the unparalleled term of half a century; nor was Massasoit, or any of the Wampanoags during his lifetime, convicted by the harshest revilers of his race, of having violated, or attempted to violate, any of its plain, just, and deliberate provisions.
The two parties seem to have regarded each other on this occasion with a curiosity of equal interest and minuteness; for while the sachem was inspecting the armor of Winslow, and his Wampanoags exerting themselves to blow the trumpet in imitation of their hosts, the English by-standers, on the other hand, were making their
own observations. The writer of the Journal of a Plantation settled at Plymouth describes Massasoit as “a very lusty man, in his best years, an able body, grave of countenance, and spare of speech.” In his attire, he is said to have differed little from the rest of his followers, excepting that he wore a large chain of white bone beads about his neck, which was, probably, one of the royal insignia; and that he had suspended from it, behind, a little bag of tobacco, which he drank, says the writer, “and gave us to drink.” His appearance otherwise does not seem to have been particularly elegant; his face being painted of a sad red, like murrey, and both head and face so oiled that he looked greasily." His only weapon was a long knise, swinging at his bosom by a string. His attendants were probably arrayed for this great occasion with peculiar attention to etiquette; some of them being painted black, others red, yellow, or white; some wearing crosses and other antick works;" and several of them dressed in furs or skins of various descriptions. Being tall
, strong men also, and the first natives whom most of the Colonists had ever seen near at hand, they must have made to them a somewhat imposing, as well as interesting spectacle.
Leaving a few of their number among the whites, as hostages, the Wampanoags retired to the woods about half a mile distant and spent the night, and Winslow acted as their hostage. The English were not yet prepared, it would seem, to put faith in the professions of sa. vages; for they kept strict watch all night, besides retaining the security just named. Their guests, on the contrary, enjoyed themselves quietly in the woods; and there were some of their wives and children with thein, who must have come upon this courteous visit from a distance of forty miles. The sachem sent several of his people the next morning, to signify his wish that some of his new friends would honor him with their presence. Standish and one Alderton* “ went venturously” among them, and were cordially if not royally welcomed with an entertainment of tobacco and ground-nuts. “ We cannot yet conceive," continues our stiil unsatisfied informant, « but that he is willing to have
* From whom the outer point of Boston barbor is said to have been namned.
peace with us; for they have seen our people sometimes alone, two or three in the woods at work and fowling, when they offered them no harm, as they might easily have done.” They remained at their encampment till late in the forenoon; the Governor requiting the sachem's liberality, mean while, by sending an express messenger for his large kettle, and filling it with dry peas. “ This pleased them well, and so they went their way;"—the one party as much relieved, no doubt, as the other was gratified. *
We met with Massasoit again in July, 1621; an embassy being then sent to him at his own residence, Montaup or Sowams. This embassy consisted of Edward Winslow and Stephen Hopkins; and the objects of it were, says Mourt, “ that forasmuch as his subjects came often and without fear upon all occasions amongst us,” so the English went now to visit him, carrying with them a coat from the Governor to his friend the sachem, as a token of good will, and desire to live peaceably. It was farther intimated, though with great delicacy, that whereas his people came frequently and in great numbers to Plymouth, wives, children, and all, and were always welcome,- yet being but strangers in the land, and not confident how their corn might prosper, they could no longer give them such entertainment as they had done, and still wished to do. If Massasoit himself, however, would visit them, or any special friend of his, he should be welcome. A request was then made, that the Pokanokets, who had furs, should be permitted to dispose of them to the Colonists. The Governor wished him also to exchange some corn for seed with the Plymouth people.
The remaining article in this message is more illustrative of the relations understood to exist and to be desirable between the parties. On the first arrival of the Colonists at Cape Cod, it seems they had found corn buried there in the ground. Seeing no inhabitants in the neighborhood, but some graves of the dead newly buried,” they took the corn, with the intention of making full satisfaction for it, whenever it became practicable. The owners of it were supposed to have fled through fear. It was now proposed that these men should be informed by Massasoit,--if they could be found,—that the English were ready to pay them with an equal quantity of corn, English meal, or “any other commodities they had to pleasure them withal;” and full satisfaction was offered for any trouble which the sachem might do them the favor to take. This proposal was equally politic and just.
They reached Namaschet about three o'clock in the afternoon; and
* Such was the earliest visit, of ceremony or business at least, which the natives of New England paid to the Colonists. The account given of it, though ex parte, as all such descriptions must be, is honorable to the foriner in the highest degree. They show that many, if not most of the savages, who were fairly dealt with, were at first as sensible and as prone to kindness as could have been wished. They went unarmed among the settlers without fear, disposed to be honest and friendly at all events, and as hospitable as their means permitted. It will appear in the sequel, that they continued so for a long course of years, as they also continued faithful to their express obligations.
there, we are told, the inhabitants entertained them with joy, in the best manner they were able; giving them sweet bread* and fish, with a less acceptable accompaniment of boiled musty acorns. Various civilities were exchanged after this primitive and savory repast,
-as ancient, by the way, as the early Greeks,- and some time was passed very pleasantly in shooting a crow at a considerable distance, to the vast astonishment and amusement of the Indians. They were then directed to a place about eight miles distant, (Middleborough) where, says the journalist, they should find more store and better victuals.” They were welcomed, on their arrival, by a party who were catching great numbers of fine bass in Taunton river, and who gave them a supper and a breakfast in the morning, besides the privilege of lodging in the woods near by over night.
Attended by six of their hosts the next day, they were assisted in passing the river; and here they met with the first indications of ill. will, in the persons of two old Indians upon the opposite bank. These two, espying them as they entered the river, ran swiftly and stealthily among the high-grass to meet them; and then, with loud voices and drawn bows, demanded of the strangers who they were; “ but seeing we were friends," it is added, “ they welcomed us with such food as they had, and we bestowed a small bracelet of beads on them.”
After one more entertainment on the way, our travellers reached Sowams. Massasoit was not at home, but arrived soon after, and was saluted by his visiters with a discharge of musketry. He welcomed them kindly after the Indian manner, took them into his lodge, and seated them by himself. They then delivered their message and presents, the latter comprising a horseman's coat of red cotton, embroidered with fine lace. The sachem mounted this superb article without delay, and hung the chain, which they also gave him, about his neck, evidently enjoying the unspeakable admiration of the Wampanoags, who gazed upon him at a distance. He now answered the message, clause after clause; and particularly signified his desire to continue in peace and friendship with his neighbors. He gathered his men around him, in fine, and harangued them; they occasionally confirming what he said by their customary ejaculations. Was not he, Massasoit, commander of the country about them? Was not such a town within his dominions—and were not the people of it his subjects—and should they not bring their skins to him, if he wished it?
The matter being regularly settled, he lighted tobacco for his guests, and conversed with them about their own country and King, marvelling, above all, that his majesty should live without a squaw. As it grew late, and he offered no more substantial entertainment than this,-no doubt for the sound reason that he had nothing to offer,--his guests intimated a wish to retire for the night. He forthwith accommodated them, with himself and his wife—they at one end and his visiters at the
* Called mazium, and made of Indian corn, no doubt. Gookin says, chat a meal which they made of parched maize was so sweet, so hearty, and so toothsome, tbat' an Indian would travel many days with no other food.