« AnteriorContinuar »
never occurred. They saw many geese and ducks, but were unable to reach them ; and being exposed to severe cold, hastily returned. Soon after they started for the same spot, named Cornhill, in the neighborhood of which they collected ten bushels of grain, esteemed a providential supply. They lighted upon a village without inhabitants ; but the houses were neatly constructed of young saplings bent at top, as in an arbor, and covered without and within with fine
Eagles' claws, deers' feet, and harts' horns, were stuck into them as charms and ornaments. They then regained their boat and sailed round to the ship. Some of their number urged that they should remain at least during the winter in this creek, where corn and fish could be procured, while many were disabled by sickness for further removal. The majority, however, observed that water was scarce, and the anchorage for ships too distant; that they had every chance of finding a better situation, and to fix here and then remove would be doubling their labor. On the 6th December, therefore, the shallop being at length ready, a chosen party set sail. After proceeding six or seven leagues, they reached a bay forming a good harbor, but without à stream falling into it. Seeing some Indian wigwams, they followed, but could not reach the people, and found only a large burial-place. They returned to sleep at the landingplace, but at midnight were wakened by “a great and hideous cry,” which they flattered themselves proceeded only from wolves or foxes. Next morning, just after prayers,
the sound was heard with redoubled violence, and was most dreadful. Á straggler rushed in, crying, “ They are men-Indians." Though the party ran to their arms, before they could be mustered the arrows were flying thick among them. A brisk fire checked the assailants ; but the chief, shooting from a tree, stood three discharges, till at the fourth he screamed out and ran, followed by his men. They were reckoned at thirty or forty, and numerous arrows were picked up; but providentially not one Englishman was hurt.
They sailed fifteen leagues farther, and on the 9th reached a harbor that had been strongly recommended. The weather was dark and stormy, and the entrance encumbered with rocks; yet they fortunately run in on a fine sandy beach. This being Saturday, they did not land till Monday the 11th, when they were highly, pleased, finding a commodious harbor, a land well wooded, vines, sherries, and berries, lately planted, and a hill cleared for corn. There was no navigable stream, but several brooks of fresh water fell into the sea. They advanced seven or eight miles into the country without seeing any Indians.
They now finally fixed upon this spot, to which, on the 19th, the vessel was brought round ; and they named it New Plymouth, to commemorate hospitalities received at home. The erection of houses, however, was a hard task, amid severe weather, short days, and very frequent storms. By distributing the unmarried among the several families, they reduced the buildings wanted to nine teen, and by the 10th January had completed one, twenty feet square, for public meetings. The exposure, however, and wading through the water in such inclement weather, brought on severe illnesses, to which Carver, a governor highly esteemed, and many others, fell victims. But on the 3d March a south wind sprung up; the weather became mild ; the birds sung in the woods most pleasantly, the invalids quickly recovered ; and many of them lived to a good old age.
In the autumn of 1621, the merchants sent out another vessel with thirty-five settlers ; but misled by “ prodigal reports of plenty" sent home by certain colonists, they supplied no provisions; nay, the crew required to be provided with a portion for their return voyage. The consequence was, that in the course of the winter the colonists were reduced to a half allowance of corn daily, then to five kernels a-piece ; lastly, to entire want. Equally destitute of live stock, they depended wholly on wild animals. Till May, 1622, fowls abounded; but there remained then merely fish, which they had not nets to catch ; and it was only by feeding on the shell species, collected among the rocks, that they were preserved from absolute starvation.
The emigrants had seen the natives only in the short hostile encounter, but afterward learned that a severe pestilence had thinned their numbers. The crime of Hunt also had filled the country with horror and dread of the strangers. To their surprise, on the 16th March, 1621, a savage almost naked, in the most confident manner, walked through the village, and addressed those he met in broken English. They crowded round him, and on their eager inquiry, learned that his name was Samoset ; that he belonged to the Wampanoags, a somewhat distant tribe ; and that their immediate neighbors were the people of Massassoit and the Nausites, the latter of whom had been the assailants in the late conflict. They treated him liberally with strong waters and food, presented him with a great-coat, knife, and ornaments, and begged him to return with some of his countrymen. After a brief absence, he appeared with “ five proper men," pre
Fig. 29.-Tattooed Indian. senting the usual grotesque attire and ferocious aspect. They all heartily danced and sung. A few days later he brought Squanto, whose restoration to his native country had rendered him extremely friendly to the English. Being ready to act as interpreter and mediator, he opened a communication with Massassoit; and on the 22d March, that great sagamore, with Quadequina his brother, and sixty men, was announced as in the vicinity. Difficulties were felt as to the meeting from want of mutual confidence; however, Squanto having brought an invitation to parley, Edward Winslow went with presents, and was kindly received. The governor, then, after obtaining some Indians as hostages, marched out at the head of six musketeers, kissed hands with the great chief, and presented a bottle of strong waters, of which he drank somewhat too copiously. A treaty was concluded, both of abstinence from mutual injury, and protection against others; and it was long faithfully observed.
Two of the settlers now accepted an invitation to visit his residence. After
A laborious journey of fifteen miles through trackless woods, they were received with great courtesy, but found a total deficiency of victuals, of which it seems the king's absence had prevented any supply. At night they were honored by sharing the royal couch, which consisted of a large board, covered with a thin
At the other end lay his majesty and the queen; and they had soon the additional company of two chiefs, who, with a large colony of Heas and other insects, and the uncouth songs with which their bedfellows lulled themselves to rest, rendered their slumbers very brief. Next day, two large bream were spread on the table ; but “forty expected a share.” Though strongly urged, they declined to partake any longer of these hospitalities.
It was discovered, however, that Squanto was completely abusing their confidence ; telling his countrymen that but for him the English would kill the Indians; and that they kept the plague locked up in their store-house, which only his intercession prevented from being let loose. On this being known, the utmost pains were taken, and successfully, to undeceive the people. In February, 1622, the settlers had completely enclosed their town, forming four bulwarks and three gates. They were some time after alarmed by hearing that Massassoit, now at the point of death, was likely to be succeeded by his son Coubatant, whose disposition was far from friendly. Edward Winslow hastened to the spot, and found the magicians busy at their incantations, and six or eight woman chafing him amidst hideous yells. The chief, already blind, cried out : “Oh, Winslow, I shall never see thee again!" That gentleman, however, by suitable medicines, gave present
Even the heir-apparent being promised similar aid in case of need, became greatly, reconciled to them.
Meantime, Weston, one of the London adventurers, had sent out a settlement consisting of sixty individuals to a place which they named Weymouth; but they behaved so ill to the Indians, that the latter entered into a general confederacy to cut off all the English. This was revealed by Massassoit to his friends at Plymouth, who succeeded in saving both themselves and their rivals, though the latter were obliged to relinquish their establishment, some returning home, and others joining the first colony.
This last made such progress that, though reduced in the spring of 1621 to fifty or sixty persons, in 1624 it amounted to a hundred and eighty. They were, as Winslow observes, " by God's providence safely seated, housed, and fortified.” They had escaped those tyrannical governors, and “ bestial yea diabolical" settlers, who had ruined so many colonies, though he admits that it was vain as yet to hope for profit. The merchants, however, complained most loudly, that they had laid out a large capital without receiving or having any prospect of the slightest return. After much discussion, it was determined that the colonists should now supply thernselves with everything, and for past services should, during nine years, pay £200 annually. Eight adventurers, on receiving a monopoly of the trade for six years, undertook to meet this engagement; so that the settlers were now established in the full property of their lands. In six years more their number had risen to three hundred.
The Plymouth company meantime continued their abortive efforts to derive some benefit from their vast domains ; being particularly solicitous to stop the active trade and fishery carried on in defiance of them. Francis West was appointed admiral, and Robert Gorges lieutenant-general of New England, with strict injunctions to restrain interlopers ; but in an ocean and continent almost equally wide and waste, they could effect little. The most important grant was to Robert, son of Sir Ferdinand Gorges, who, obtaining a large portion of what is now called New Hampshire, employed Captain Mason, a person of great activity, to colonize it; and hence were built Dover and Portsmouth on the Pis
cataqua. These, however, made only a slow progress ; nor was it till the death of their founders, that, being left nearly to themselves, they drew gradual accessions both from home and the adjoining colony. The crews also, who sought timber and fish on the coast of Maine, began to form fixed stations on the Penobscot and Kennebec. Levett, who visited America in 1623, strongly recommends this course, asserting that a settlement on shore might take twice the quantity of fish that a ship can do at sea, and have still seven months for other employment. He gives a warning, at that time too much neglected, that they must carry out eighteen months' provisions, and work hard for a fresh supply.
The emigration, however, which was to render New England a flourishing colony, was again derived from the suspicion and dread which always attend religious persecution. It seems to have abated toward the end of James's reign, Abbot, the primate, being a man of mild temper, and averse to violent measures. In 1625, Charles I. succeeded, a young prince of virtuous dispositions, but of obstinate and despotic temper, attached with a conscientious but blind zeal to the English church, and probably imbibing from his queen Henrietta some favor for popish ceremonies. He threw himself into the arms of Laud, bishop of London, a zealot in the same cause, and they entered together on a career oppressive to the nation, and ultimately fatal to themselves. The body of the people and clergy having become more and more Calvinistic, that creed had obtained among both a great majority. It was accompanied with a strictness, and even preciseness as to morals and conduct, which procured them the name of Puritans; also with a peculiar aversion to everything which had the least aspect of popery. Laud proceeded with the utmost severity not only against the new doctrine, but against any particular display of it, such as preaching on weekdays, enforcing a rigid observance of the sabbath, rebuking for drunkenness, or other open sin. These steps were sufficient, according to circumstances, to produce censure, suspension, and deprivation. Nor was he content with the church as he had found it, but introduced new ceremonies and vestments, closely approximating to the Romish standard. These mandates, though the most odious, were also the most strongly urged, and their omission the most rigidly punished. All the popular ministers in the kingdom were thus either silenced or under immediate peril of this sentence; and hence a great part of the nation was deprived of any ministration which they considered profitable or edifying. Yet loyalty was still powerful, and they were not ripe for that terrible resistance, to which they were afterward impelled. Their only refuge seemed to be in some distant region, whither the power of Laud could not reach, and where they might enjoy a form of worship which they esteemed pure and scriptural.
In 1625, Roger Conant, with some mercantile aid, but chiefly inspired by religious zeal, had established a body of settlers near Cape Anne; their sufferings, however, were so severe, that they determined to return to England, White, however, an eminent minister of Dorchester, entreated him to remain, promising that he should receive a patent, friends, goods, provisions, and everything he could desire. This zealous clergyman held communication with many persons in his own neighborhood, in London, and other quarters, particularly Lincolnshire ; who, with zeal for religious purity, united energy of character, and in many cases considerable property. They found no difficulty in purchasing from the Plymouth company an extensive tract, including all the coast between the rivers Charles and Merrimac, and across to the Pacific ocean. They even obtained, though not without cost and trouble, a charter from Charles, under the title of “ The Company of the Massachusetts Bay.” On the delicate topic of religion, the governor was empowered, but not required, to administer the oath of supremacy; and there was no other mention of the subject. Some eminent historians have therefore thought that the colonists went out without any secu