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Winslow, it seems, made a trading voyage to Connecticut during the summer of 1634. On his return, he left his vessel upon the Narragansett coast for some reason or other, and commenced his journey for Plymouth across the woods. Finding himself at a loss, probably, as to his route, he made his way to Sowams, and called upon his ancient acquaintance, the sachem. The latter gave him his usual kind welcome, and, upon his leaving him, offered to conduct him home,-a pedestrian journey of two days. He had just despatched one of his Wampanoags to Plymouth, with instructions to inform the friends of Winslow that he was dead, and to persuade them of this melancholy fact, by specifying such particulars as their own ingenuity might suggest. All this was done accordingly; and the tidings occasioned, as might be expected, a very unpleasant excitement throughout the colony. In the midst of it, however, on the next day, the sachem entered the village, attended by Winslow, and with more than his usual complacency in his honest and cheerful countenance. He was asked why such a report had been circulated the day previous. “That Winsnow might be the more welcome," answered he, "and that you might be the more happy,-it is my custom.” He had come thus far to enjoy the surprise personally; and he returned homeward more gratified by it, without doubt, than he would have been by the most fortunate foray among the Narragansetts.
It is intimated by some writers, rather more frequently than is either just or generous, that the sachem's fear of the tribe just named lay at the foundation of his friendship. It might have been nearer the apparent truth, considering all that is known of Massasoit, to say, that his interest happened to coincide with his inclination. At all events, it was in the power of any other of the sachems or kings throughout the country to place and sustain themselves upon the same footing with the colonists, had they been prompted either by as much good feeling or good sense. On the contrary, the Massachusetts were plotting and threatening on one hand, as we have seen,-not without provocation, it must be allowed, --while the Narragansett sachem, upon the other, had sent in his compliments, as early as 16:22, in the shape of a bundle of arrows tied up with a rattlesnake's skin.
Nor should we forget the wretched feebleness of the colony at the period of their first acquaintance with Massasoit. Indeed, the instant measures which he took for their relief and protection look more like the promptings of compassion than of either hope or fear. A month previous to his appearance among them, they were reduced to such a pitiable condition by sickness, that only six or seven of their whole number were able to do business in the open air; and probably their entire fighting force, could they have been mustered together, would scarcely have equalled the little detachment which Massasoit brought with him into the village, delicately leaving twice as many, with the arms of all, behind him, as he afterwards exchanged six hostages for one. No wonder that the colonists “could not yet conceive but that he was willing to have peaco with them." ;
But the motives of the sachem are still further manifested by the sense of his own dignity, which, peaceable as he generally was, he showed promptly upon all suitable occasions. Both the informal grant, and the formal deeds we have mentioned, indicate that he understood himself to be the master of his ancestral territory as much in right as in fact. There is nothing in his whole history which does more honor to his intelligence or his sensibility, than his conduct occasioned by the falsehoods circulated among the colonists against him by Squanto. His first impulse, as we have seen, was to be offended with the guilty intriguant; the second, to thank the governor for appealing to himself in this case, and to assure him that he would at any time "send word and give warning when any such business was towards." On further inquiry, he ascertained that Squanto was taking even more liberties with his reputation than he had been aware of. He went forthwith to Plymouth, and made his appeal personally to the governor. The latter pacified him as well as he could, and he returned home. But a very short time elapsed before a message came from him, entreating the governor to consent to the death of the renegade who still abused him. The governor confessed, in reply, that Squanto deserved death, but desired that he might be spared on account of his indispensable services. Massasoit was not yet satisfied. The former messenger was again sent, “with divers others,” says Winslow in his Relation, “demanding him (Squanto) as being one of Massasoit's subjects, whom, by our first articles of peace, we could not retain; yet because he would not willingly do it (insist upon his rights) without the governor's approbation, he offered him many beaver-skins for his consent thereto.” The deputation had brought these skins accordingly, as also the sachem's own knife for the execution of the criminal. Squanto now. surrendered himself to the governor, as an Indian always resigns himself to his fate
similar occasions; but the governor still contrived a pretext for sparing him. The deputies were mad with rage and impatient of delay," as may be supposed, and departed in great heat.
The conduct of the sachem in this case was manifestly more correct than that of his ally. He understood as well as the governor did the spirit of the articles in the treaty, which provided that an offender upon either side should be given up to punishment upon demand; and he was careful to make that demand personally, explicitly and respectfully. The governor, on the other hand, as well as the culprit him. self, acknowledged the justice of it, but maneuvred to avoid compliance. The true reason is no doubt given by Winslow. It is also given in the language of John Smith. “With much adoe,” says the honest captain, “we appeased the angry king and the rest of the saluages, and freely forgaue Tusquantum, because he speaking our language, we could not be well without him.” The king was angry, then, as he well might be; and the governor took the trouble he was both bound and interested to take to appease him. It is not to be wondered at, perhaps, that the particulars of this transaction are so Little dwelt upon by the writers of that period. Winslow barely states,--speaking, in another connection, of the Indians being evidently aware of the weakness of the colony,—that, what was worse, “now also Massasoit seemed to frown upon us, and neither came nor sent to us as formerly.” This passage is no less significant than brief; but not more so than a subsequent dry observation respecting Squanto, “whose peace before this time (the fall of the same year) was wrought with Massasoit."
Such were the life and character of Massasoit. It is to be regretted that so few particulars are preserved of the former, and that so little justice, consequently, can be done to the latter. But so far as his history goes, it certainly makes him one of the most remarkable men of his race,
There is no nobler instance in all history of national fidelity (for which he mainly must have the credit), or of individual friendship. This instinct of a generous nature in the first instance being confirmed by a course of conduct generally alike creditable to the feelings and shrewdness of the colonists, finally settled itself in the mind of Massasoit as innately as his affection for his own subjects. w I know now,” said he to Winslow, on his first recovery from the severe sickness we have mentioned, “I know that the English love me, I love them, I shall never forget them."
But putting even the most unnatural construction upon the profes sions and the conduct of the sachem, the relation he commenced and for forty-five years sustained with the English, must be allowed to show at least a consummate sagacity. He certainly succeeded, during all this time, not only in shielding his tribes from their just or unjust hostility, but in gaining their respect to such a singular degree, that the writings of no single author within our recollection furnish one word to his disparagement. Even Hubbard speaks of him with something like regard, notwithstanding the obnoxious trait in his character indicated in the following passage: “It is very remarkable," he says, " that this Woosamequin, how much soever he affected the English, was never in the least degree well affected to their religion.” It is added, furthermore, that in his last treaty with the whites at Swanzey,—referring to a sale of land which we have mentioned,--he exerted himself to bind them solemnly “never to draw away any of his people from their old pagan superstition and devilish idolatry, to the Christian religion."* This he insisted on, until they threatened to break off the negotiation on account of his pertinacity, and he then gave up the point.
Massasoit did not distinguish himself as a warrior; nor is he known to have been once engaged in any open hostilities, even with the inimical and powerful tribes who environed his territory. This is another unique trait in his character; and considering the general
* In that rare tract (published in London, 1651,) entitled "The Light appearing more and more towards the Perfect Day," &c., and written by the Rev. Thomas Mayhew, it is stated, that some of the Christian Indians of Martha's Vineyard had a conversation with " Vzzamequin, a great sachem or governor on the maine land (coming amongst them), about the wayes of God,"-he inquiring what earthly good things came along with them, and what they had gained by their piety, &c. This was previous to attachment of all Indians to a belligerant life, their almost exclusive deference for warlike qualities, the number and scattered location of the Pokanoket tribes, and especially the character of their ancient neighbors, this very fact is alone sufficient to distinguish the genius of Massasoit. All the native nations of New England but his were involved in dissensions and wars with each other and with the whites; and they all shared sooner or later the fate which he avoided. The restless ringleaders who plotted mischief among the Massachusetts were summarily knocked upon the head by Miles Standish, while hundreds of the residue fled, and miserably perished in their own swamps. The Pequots,--a nation who could muster three thousand bowmen but a short time previous-were nearly exterminated in 1637; and the savages of Maine, meanwhile, the Mohawks of New York, the Narragansetts and Mohegans, were fighting and reducing each other's strength, as if their only object had been, by ultimately extirpating themselves, to prep a way in the wilderness for the new comers.
PREPARATIONS FOR WAR BETWEEN PHILIP AND THE COLONIES-IMMEDI. ATE OCCASION OF HOSTILITIES-HIS COURAGE, DIGNITY, INDEPENDENCE, &C.-FATE OF HIS FAMILY-DEFENCE OF HIS CONDUCT.
Every preparation after the death of Alexander, brother of Philip, was made for the impending crisis on either side. The following ancient document, taken from the records of Plymouth, shows that the agitation of all the parties concerned had already arrived at a high pitch. It is the deposition of one Hugh Cole, taken in court previous to Sassamon's death, and attested by Nathaniel Morton as secretary.
“ Hugh Cole, aged forty-three, or thereabouts, being deposed, saith :—That in February last past before the date hereof, he went to Shewamett, and two Englishmen more with him; and that their business was to persuade the Indians to go to Plymouth, to answer a complaint made by Hezekiah Luther. The Indians (saith he) seeing us, came out of the house towards us, being many of them, at the least twenty or thirty, with staves in their hands; and when the Indians saw there were but three of us, they laid down their staves again. Then we asked the Indians what they did with those staves in their bands? They answered that they looked for Englishmen to come from Plymouth, to seek Indians to carry them to Plymouth. But they said they were not willing to go. And some time after, in the same morning, Philip, the chief sachem, sent for me to come to him, and I went to Mount Hope to him; and when I came to Mount Hope, I saw most of the Indians that I knew of Shewanett Indians, there at Mount Hope, and they were generally employed in making of bows and arrows, and hali pikes, and fixing up of guns. And I saw many Indians of several places repair towards Mount Hope. And