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favored instead of opposing him, it is fortunately impossible for us to estimate. It is confessed, however, that had even the Narragansetts joined him during the first summer of the war,-as nothing but the abrupt commencement of it prevented them from doing,—the whole country, from the Piscataqua to the Sound, must have been overswept and desolated. But as it was, Philip did and endured enough to immortalise him as a warrior, a statesman, and we may add, as a high-minded and noble patriot. Whatever might be the prejudice against him in the days of terror produced by his prowess, there are both the magnanimity and the calmness in these times to do him the justice he deserves. He fought and fell, miserably indeed, but gloriously,—the avenger of his own household, the worshipper of his own gods, the guardian of his own honor, a martyr for the soil which was his birth-place, and for the proud liberty which was his birthright.
THE NARRAGANSETT TRIBE-TERRITORY AND POWER-CHIEF SACHEMS AT THE DATE OF THE ENGLISH SETTLEMENTS IN NEW ENGLAND.
Next to the Pokanokct confederacy, none has a stronger claim on the early notice of the historian than the Narragansett; a nation composed of various small tribes, inhabiting a large part of the territory which afterwards formed the colony of Rhode Island. Their dominion extended also over the islands in the bay of their own name; and the sagamores of a part of Long-Island, Block-Island, Cawesit, and Niantick were either their tributaries or subject to them in some other way. They had once been able to raise more than four thousand warriors; and so late as Philip's time, we have seen they could muster two thousand, one half of whom were provided with English arms, and were skilful in the use of them. From time immemorial they had waged war with both the Pokanokets on the north and the Pequots on the west.
It might be expected that the rulers of such a confederacy, thus situated, should be men of talent and energy; and this expectation will not be disappointed. Throughout the history of the New Eng. land Indians, as we find no people more resolute in declaring what they believed to be their rights, or more formidable in defending them, so we find no sachems more ready and able than theirs on all occasions to sustain the high spirit of their subjects.
There is an unnecessary confusion in the information conveyed by some of our best annalists, respecting the particular personage who governed the Narragansetts at the date of the first intercourse between them and the English. Governor Hutchinson, for dample, speaks in one case of Canonicus as being their chief sachem. In another, alluding to the death of Miantonomo, while the former was yet living, . he observes, that although they had lost their chief sachem, yet they had divers other stout ones, as Canonicus, Pessacus, and others.
The ambiguity has arisen from the circumstance, that, although Canonicus exercised the chief authority of the country when the English first arrived, he soon after became associated in the government with Miantonomo, his nephew. What were the particular conditions of the royal co-partnership, or what was the occasion of it, cannot now be determined. Some writers suppose that the sole authority belonged to the younger of the two, and that the elder acted in the capacity of regent; but considering that the association continued during the whole term of the joint lives of the two, it appears more probable that Canonicus, finding himself far advanced in years, as well as encumbered with the charge of an extensive dominion, at the period of the first English settlements, thought proper to make such an alteration in his regal state as seemed to be required by the exigencies of the times. He therefore selected as an associate the most popular and active prince of his own family.
Mr. Hutchinson himself appears finally to adopt the conclusion we have just stated. In a part of his history subsequent to the passage above cited, he refers to information derived from authentic manuscripts, which furnished the opinion of the Narragansetts themselves upon the subject. The oldest of that people reported, when the Eng. lish first arrived, that they had in former times a sachem called Tashtassack, incomparably superior to any other in the whole country in dominion and state. This chieftain, said they, had only two children, a son and a daughter; and not being able to match them according to their dignity, he joined them together in wedlock. They had four sons; and of these, Canonicus, “who was sachem when the English came,” was the eldest.
Mr. Hutchinson observes, that this is the only piece of Indian history or tradition of any sort from the ancestors of our first Indians, he had ever met with. The brothers of Canonicus here referred to are occasionally spoken of by the old writers, but not as having signalised themselves by any thing worthy of notice.
The fact that Canonicus and his nephew administered the govern. ment in harmony as well as in union, is shown most clearly by the letters of Roger Williams.* It is well known that, in 1634, when that reverend gentleman was compelled to leave the Massachusetts colony, (on account of his religious opinions,) he fled to Seekonk. But that place lying within the limits of the Plymouth jurisdiction, and the people of that colony being unwilling to embroil themselves with Massachusetts, Governor Winslow informed him of the difficulty which was apprehended, and advised him to occupy a spot on the other side of the river, without the boundaries of either jurisdiction. The writer of the Key to the Indian Languages says:
" Their agreement in the government is remarkable. The old sachem will not be offended at what the young sachem doth; and the young sachem will not do what he conceives will displease his uncle."
Upon this Mr. Williams, utterly forlorn, crossed the river, and threw himself on the mercy of Canonicus.
The savage chieftain—to his eternal praise be it recorded—received him with a hospitality worthy of an emperor. At first, indeed, he was suspicious of his visiter's motives, and he was none the more prepossessed in his favor, from his subjects having recently suffered excessively from a formidable epidemic, which he supposed to have been introduced by the English. “At my first coming among them,” Mr. Williams writes, “Canounicus* (morosus aeque ac barbarus senex) was very sour, and accused the English and myself of sending the plague among them, and threatening to kill him especially." Soon afterwards, however, he not only permitted the refugee, and the poor wanderers who had followed him from Salem, to have & resting-place in his domain, but he gave them all “the neck of land lying between the mouths of Pawtucket and Moshasuck rivers, that they might sit down in peace upon it, and enjoy it forever.” Mr. Williams divided this land equally among his followers, and founded the town of Providence. The settlement of Rhode Island commenced at Patuxet a short time afterwards, Canonicus conveying to Williams nearly the whole of what is now Providence at one time.
The kindness of the Narragansett rulers is the more creditable to their feelings, inasmuch as the former relations between them and the English colonies had been far enough from friendly. Early in 1622, their threats of hostility were so open, that the English were receiving constant intelligence of their designs from the Indians in their own alliance; and not long afterwards Canonicus sent a herald to Plymouth, who left a bundle of arrows enclosed in a rattlesnake's skinthe customary challenge to war. The governor despatched a messenger in return, bearing the same skin stuffed with gunpowder and bullets; assuring the chieftain, also, that if he had shipping, instead of troubling him to come so far as Plymouth to gratify his wish for fighting, he would have sought him in his own country ;-and furthermore, that whenever he did come, he should find the English ready for him. This resolute message had the desired effect, and the sachem's superstition confirmed it. Fearful of some mysterious injury, he refused to touch the skin, and would not suffer it even to remain in his house. It passed through several hands, and at length was returned to the colony unopened.
In 1632, the sachem made an attack on Massasoit, who fled for refuge to an English house at Sowams, and sent despatches for the assistance of his English allies. As Captain Standish took a special interest in this case, there must soon have been a warm contest between the parties, had not the Narragansetts hastily retreated, on account of a rumor that the Pequots were invading their own territory. Four years afterwards, when the last named nation formed the design of completely extirpating the English from New England, they
* There are a number of other modifications of this name in use.
applied to their old enemies, Canonicus and Miantonomo, to conclude a peace, and to engage them, with as many other tribes as possible, in a common cause against the colonists.
The sachems are said to have wavered on that occasion between the gratification of present revenge upon the Pequots, and the prospect of an ultimate triumph over the English power by uniting with them. Their friendship for Roger Williams, and the influence he was consequently enabled to exercise, probably turned the scale. Miantonomo informed him of the Pequot application; Mr. Williams forwarded the news immediately to Governor Winthrop at Boston, and Canonicus, by the same messenger, sent word of recent depredations which he had just understood to have been committed by the Pequots at Say. brook. The governor, probably following the suggestion of Mr. Williams, sent for Miantonomo to do him the honor of a visit.
He came to Boston accordingly in September, 1636, attended by two of the sons of Canonicus, another suchem, and about twenty sanops, (or male adults). As he had given notice of his approach the day previous, the governor sent a corps of musketeers to meet him at Roxbury, and they escorted him into town about noon. By this time Mr. Winthrop had called together most of the magistrates and ministers of Boston, but it being now dinner time, ceremony and business were both postponed. The sachems dined by themselves in the same room with the governor, while the sanops were amply provided for at an inn.
In the afternoon Miantonomo made his proposals of peace, and said that, in case of their acceptance, he should in two months send a present to confirm them. The governor, according to their own custom, asked time to consider this proposal. At the second conference, which took place the next morning, the following terms were agreed upon, and subscribed by the governor on the one hand, and the marks of the sachems on the other:
1. A firm peace between the Massachusetts colony and the other English plantations, (with their consent,) and their confederates (with their consent).
2. Neither party to make peace with the Pequots without consultation with the other.
3. Not to harbor the Pequots.
4. To put to death or deliver over murderers, and to return fugi. tive servants.
5. The English to notify them when they marched against the Pequots, and they to send guides.
6. Free trade between the two nations.
7. None of them to visit the English settlements during the war with the Pequots, without some Englishman or known Indian in company.
The treaty was to continue to the posterity of both nations. On its conclusion, the parties dined together as before. They then took formal leave of each other, and the sachems were escorted out of town, and dismissed with a volley of musketry. The present promised by Miantonomo appears to have been sent in early in 1637,
when a deputation of twenty-six Narragansetts came to Boston with forty fathom of wampum and a Pequot's hand. The governor gave each of the four sachems in the company “a coat of fourteen shillings price, and deferred to return his present till aster, according to their manner.” It is well known how fully the Narragansetts discharged their engagements in the expedition which took place about this time against the Pequots. They also furnished, through Mr. Williams, not a little useful information respecting the common enemy, by which the expedition was guided at the outset, and offered the use of the harbors of the Narragansett coast for the English vessels.
The joint invasion of the allies took place in May. The English forces, taking the Narragansett country in their way, acquainted Canonicus and Miantonomo with their arrival and plan of campaign. The latter met them the next day with about two hundred of his chief counsellors and warriors. Mason made a formal request for permission to pass through his territories, on his way to the Pequot forts. Miantonomo, after a solemn consultation, replied, that he highly approved of the expedition, and would send men, especially as the English force appeared to him quite too insignificant to meet the Pequots, who were great warriors. About five hundred warriors accordingly marched against the enemy under the command of Mason, and some of them did active service. The chief sachems took no part, personally, in the campaign.
In September, 1638, the Pequots being completely conquered, Uncas, the chief sachem of the Mohegans, (who had assisted in the war,) and Miantonomo, were invited to meet the Connecticut magistrates at Hartford, to agree upon a division of captives. These were two hundred in number, besides women and children. Eighty of them were allotted to the Narragansett sachem; twenty to a neighboring chief, Ninigret; and the other one hundred to Uncas. The Pequots were to pay an annual tribute of wampum at Ilartford. It was also covenanted that there should be a perpetual peace between Miantonomo and Uncas; that all past injuries should be buried; that if any should be committed in future, complaints should be submitted amicably to the arbitration of the English, both parties being bound to abide by their decision on pain of incurring their hostility. No open cnemies of the English were to be harbored, and all individual criminals were to be given over to justice.
The terms of this treaty did not long remain inviolate. Whatever were the motives of Miantonomo, and whatever his justification, he soon became bitterly hostile to the Mohegans at least. It might have been reason enough with him for opposing both them and the English, that either was his enemy, because he knew them to be bound together by alliance of offence and defence. But it seems probable that he iniended only to fight the Mohegins. His old grudge against the Pequots revived against them as a branch of the Pequot stock. Uncas, too, was his greatest personal rival; and Miantonomo was ambitious to stand at the head of all the New England Indians. If, however, as has been asserted by some, his main design was to resist the growing