« AnteriorContinuar »
men. His next kennelling-place* was at the fall of Connecticut river, above Deerfield, where, some time after, “Captain Turner found him, came upon him by night, killed a great many men, and frightened many more into the river, that were hunted down the falls and drowned.” He lost three hundred men at this time. They were in their encampments, asleep and unguarded. The English rushed upon them, and they fled in every direction, half-awakened, and cry. ing out, “Mohawks! Mohawks!"
We cannot better illustrate Philip's character than by observing, that within a few days of this affair, he was collecting the remnants of the Narragansetts and Nipmucks among the Wachuset hills, on the east side of the river; that they then made a descent upon Sudbury; “ met with and swallowed up the valiant Captain Wadsworth and his company,t and many other doleful desolations in those parts.” We also find, that Philip was setting parties to waylay Church, under his own worst circumstances; and that he came very near succeeding. He is thought to have been at the great swamp-tight in December, 1675; and to have led one thousand Indians against Lancaster on the ensuing 8th of February. In August of the former season, he made his appearance among the Nipmucks, in a swamp ten or twelve miles from Brookfield. “They told him at his first coming,” said one of them who was taken captive, “what they had done to the English at Brookfield [burning the town. Then he presented and gave to three sagamores--namely, John, alias A pequinast, Quanansit, and Mawtamps——to each of them about a peck of unstrung wampum.”Ị Even so late as the month before the sachem's death, a negro, who had fought under him, informed the English of his design of attacking certain towns, being still able to muster something like a thousand men. In his last and worst days, he would not think of peace; and he killed with his own hand, upon the spot, the only Indian who ever dared to propose it. It was the brother of this man by whom he was himself soon after slain.
These are clear proofs, then, that Philip possessed a courage as noble as his intellect. Nor is there any doubt that history would have furnished a long list of his personal exploits, but that his situation compelled him to disguise as well as conceal himself. If any
* The language of Church. The same might be as properly applied, we suppose, to a curious cave in the vicinity of Winnecunnett pond, in Norton (Mass.) In the midst of a cluster of large rocks, it is formed by the projection of one over another which meets it with an acute angle. It is five feet high, and the area at the base is seventeen feet by nine. Tradition represents it as one of the sachem's secret retreats, and it bears the name of “ Philip's Cave" to this day.
† This strong expression of the captain's may refer to the really savage treatment which the unfortunate prisoners met with in this case. We have it on the authority of Mather, at least, that those "devils incarnate” inflicted a variety of tortures not necessary to be enlarged upon here; 6 and so with exquisite, leisurely, horrible torments, roasted them out of the world.” History of New England, Book VII. p. 55. London ed. 1702.
| Note to Hutchinson's History of Massachusetts. Mather says, that these very Indians had covenanted by a formal treaty, a month before, that they would not assist Philip,
thing but his face had been known, there was nothing to prevent Church from shooting him, as we have seen. And universally influential as he was,—the master-spirit every where guiding, encouraging, soothing, and rewarding,-it is a fact worthy of mention, that from the time of his first flight from Pocasset until a few weeks before his death, no Englishman could say that he had either seen his countenance or heard his voice. Hence Church describes him as being always foremost in the flight. The price put upon his head, the fearful power which pursued him, the circumstance that some of his own acquaintance were against him, and especially the vital importance of life to his cause, all made it indispensable for him to adopt every stratagem of the wary and cunning warfare of his race.
We have said something of Philip's ideas of his own sovereign dignity. Hence the fate of Sassamon, and of the savage who proposed peace. There is a well settled tradition, that in 1665 he went over to the island of Nantucket, with the view of killing an Indian called John Gibbs. He landed on the west end, intending to travel along the shore, undiscovered, under the bank, to that part of the island where Gibbs resided. By some lucky accident, the latter received a hint of his approach, made his escape to the English settlement, and induced one Mr. Macy to conceal him. His crime consisted in speaking the name of some deceased relative of Philip (his brother, perhaps), contrary to Indian etiquette in such cases provided. The English had a parley with the sachem, and all the money they were able to collect was barely sufficient to satisfy him for the life of the culprit. It was not a mere personal insult, but a violation of the reverence due from a subject to a king.
It appears that when he visited Boston, before the war, he succeeded in persuading the government,—as, no doubt, was the truth of .the case, that notwithstanding the old league of his father, renewed by himself, or rather by force of it, he was still independent of Plymouth. “ These successive engagements were agreements of amity, and not of subjection any further, as he apprehended.” He then desired to see a copy of the treaty, and requested that one might be procured for him. He knew, he added, that the praying Indians had submitted to the English; but the Pokanokets had done no such thing, and they were not subject. The letter of the Massachusetts to the Plymouth Government, written just after this interview with the sachem, is well worthy of notice. “We do not understand,” say the former, “ how far he hath subjected himself to you; but the treatment you have given him does not render him such a subject, as that, if there be not present answering to summons, there should presently be a proceeding to hostilities."
Philip had himself the same notion of a Plymouth summons; and yet either policy or good feeling induced him to visit the Plymouth Governor, in March 1675, for the purpose of quieting the suspicions of the Colony: nothing was discovered against him, and he returned home. He maintained privately the sam
ime frank but proud independence. He was opposed to Christianity as much as his father was,
and would make no concessions upon that point. Possibly the remembrance of Sassamon might have rankled in his bosom, when, upon the venerable Eliot once undertaking to convert him, he took one of his buttons between his fingers, and told him he cared no more for the gospel than for that button. That he was generally more civil, however, may be inferred from Gookin's statement: “I have heard him speak very good words, arguing that his conscience is convicted,” &c. The sachem evidently made himself agreeable in this case.
In regard to his personal appearance, always a matter of curiosity in the case of great men, sketches purporting to be portraits of him are extant, but none of them are believed to have more verisimilitude than the grotesque caricature prefixed to the old narrative of Captain Church (the model of the series); and we must therefore content our. selves to remain ignorant in this matter. As to his costume, Josselyn, who saw him at Boston, says that he had a coat on, and buskins set thick with beads, “in pleasant wild works, and a broad belt of the same;" his accoutrements being valued at £20. A family in Swanzey, (Mass.,) is understood to be still in possession of some of the royalties which were given up by Anawon, at the time of his cap. ture by Church.* There were two horns of glazed powder, a redcloth blanket, and three richly and beautifully wrought wampum belts. One was nine inches wide, and so long as to extend from the shoulder to the ancles. To the second, which was worn on the head, were attached two ornamented small flags. The third and smallest had a star figured in beads upon one end, which came over the bosom.
Philip was far from being a mere barbarian in his manners and feelings. There is not an instance to be met with, of his having mal. treated a captive in any way, even while the English were selling his own people as slaves abroad, or torturing and hanging them at home. The famous Mrs. Rowlandson speaks of meeting with him during her doleful captivity. He invited her to call at his lodge; and when she did so, bade her sit down, and asked her if she would smoke. On meeting her again, he requested her to make some garment for his child, and for this he paid her a shilling. He afterwards took the trouble of visiting her for the purpose of assuring her, that “in a forinight she should be her own mistress.” Her last interview, it must be allowed, shows his shrewdness to rather more advantage than his
* Anawon is said to have been Philip's chief counsellor and captain during the war; and also to have fought under Massasoit. But the latter was not a very belligerant character; nor do we find mention of Anawon's services under Philip, previous to the time of his fall at the swamp-skirmish, when the counsellor made his escape. Hubbard states that he boasted of having killed ten whites in one day; but nearly all that is known of him we derive from the picturesque account of his capture by Church, who headed an expedition for the express.purpose. Anawon met his misfortune, and eveo entertained his conqueror, most manfully on that occasion, and Church reciprocated his courtesies; but all in vain-the old warrior, with many others of his tribe, was soon after beheaded at Plymouth. To the traveller from Taunton to Providence, through the southeast corner of Rehoboth, Anawon's rock is pointed out to this day-an enormous pile, from twenty-five to thirty feet high, on a sort of island in a swamp of some thousand acres.
fair dealing. It was Indian stratagem in war-time, however; and the half-clad sachem was at this very time living upon ground-nuts, acorns and lily-roots. “Philip, smelling the business, [her ransom, called me to him, and asked me what I would give him to tell me some good news, and to speak a good word for me, that I might go home tomorrow. I told him I could not. tell,--but anything I had, and asked him what he would have. He said two coats, and twenty shillings in money, half a bushel of seed-corn, and some tobacco. I thanked him for his love, but I knew that good news as well as that crafty fox.” It is probable he was amusing himself with this good woman, much as he did with the worthy Mr. Gookin; but at all events, there are no traces of malevolent feeling in these simple anecdotes.
What is more striking, we find that when one James Brown, of Swanzey, brought him a letter from Plymouth, just before hostilities commenced, and the young warriors were upon the point of killing him, Philip interfered and prevented it, saying, that “his father had charged him to show kindness to Mr. Brown.” Accordingly, it is recorded in Hubbard, that a little before his death, the old sachem had visited Mr. Brown, who lived not far from Montaup, and earnestly desired that the love and amity he had received might be continued to the children. It was probably this circumstance, which induced Brown himself to engage in such a hazardous enterprise, after an interval, probably, of some twenty years.
Nor should we pass over the kindness of Philip to the Leonard family, who resided near Fowling Pond, in what is now Raynham. Philip, who wintered at Montaup,—for the convenience of fishing, perhaps,—was accustomed to spend the summer at a hunting-house, by this pond.* There he became acquainted with the Leonards, traded with them, and had his arms repaired by them frequently. On the breaking out of the war, he gave strict orders that these men should never be hurt, as they never were ; and, indeed, the whole town of Taunton, as it then was, remained almost entirely unmolested throughout the war, and amid all the ravages and massacres which daily took place upon its very borders. How much of provocation and humiliation he was himself enduring meanwhile, we have already
All his relations were killed or captured, and a price set upon his own life.
It is a matter of melancholy interest to know that the sachem, wretched and hopeless as he had become in his last days, was still surrounded by a band of his faithful and affectionate followers. At the very moment of his fatal surprise by the English, he is said to have been telling them of his gloomy dreams, and advising them to * A forge is still in operation upon the site of the one here mentioned.
† The violent prejudice existing against Philip, unmitigated even by his sufferings and death, appears singularly in a parenthetical surmise of Hubbard, “whether the devil appeared to him that night in a dream, forebodiøg bis tragical end, it matters not.” So Mather says he was hung up like Ahag, after being shot through his “ venomous and inurderous heart.'' Church, generally an honorable and humane man, speaks of his fallen foe in terms which we regard bis reputation too much to repeat.
desert him and provide for their own safety. A few minutes after this, he was shot in attempting to escape from the swamp. An Englishman,-one Cook,-aimed at him, but his gun missed fire; the Indian who was stationed to watch at the same place discharged his musket, and shot him through the heart. The news of this success was of course received with great satisfaction; Church says that “the whole army gave three loud huzzas.” It is to be regretted that the honest captain suffered his prejudices to carry him so far that he denied the rites of burial to his great enemy. He had him quartered, on the contrary, and his head carried to Plymouth, where, as Mather is careful to tell us, it arrived on the very day when the church there were keeping a solemn thanksgiving. The conqueror's temper was soured by the illiberality of the government toward himself
. For this march he received but four and sixpence a man, together with thirty shillings a head for the killed. Ile observes that Philip's head went at the same price, and he thought it a “scanty reward and poor encouragement.” The sachem's head was carried about the colony in triumph;* and the Indian who killed him was rewarded with one of his hands. To finish the wretched detail, several of his principal royalties were soon after given up by one of his chief captains; and the lock of the gun which was fatal to him, with a samp-dish found in his wigwam, are still to be seen among the antiquities of the Historical Society of Massachusetts. Montaup, which became the subject of a dispute between the Massachusetts and Plymouth colonies, was finally awarded to the latter by a special decision of King Charles.
Last and worst of all, his only son, a boy of nine years of age, whom we have already noticed as among the English captives, was sold as a slave and shipped to Bermuda. It should be stated, however, that this unfortunate measure was not taken without some scruples. The Plymouth court was so much perplexed upon the occasion, as to conclude upon applying to the clergymen of the colony for advice. Mr. Cotton was of opinion that “the children of notorious traitors, rebels, and murderers, especially such as have been principal leaders and actors in such horrid villanies, might be involved in the guilt of their parents, and might, salra republica, be adjudged to death.” Dr. Increase Mather compared the child to Hadad, whose father was killed by Joab; and he intimates, that if Iladad himself had not escaped, David would have taken measures to prevent his molesting the next generation. It is gratifying to know that the course he recommended was postponed, even to the ignominious and mortifying one we have mentioned.
Such was the impression which had been universally forced upon the colonists by the terrible spirit of Philip. And never was a civilised or uncivilised enemy more generally or more justly feared. How much greater his successes might have been, had circumstances
* It was kept many years at Plymouth. Dr. Mather says in 1700“ It is not long since the hand which now writes, upon a certain occasion took off the jaw from the exposed skull of that blasphemous leviathan,”